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Pitch invasions: Football ‘cannot gamble’ with such situations, according to the PFA

Pitch invasions: Football ‘cannot gamble’ with such situations, according to the PFA

Football “cannot afford to incur the risk” of a player or manager being gravely hurt during a pitch invasion, and officials must act “immediately” to address the issue.

Maheta Molango, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), claimed “very high-profile players” had expressed worry over the current spate of occurrences.

In recent weeks, there have been a handful of pitch invasions following games in England, with fans attacking players.

After headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp, a fan was sentenced to prison, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was assaulted at Manchester City.

Following his side’s Premier League defeat at Goodison Park last week, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was embroiled in an altercation with an Everton fan during a pitch invasion.

After their League Two play-off semi-final defeat at Port Vale, Swindon Town players were “physically and verbally attacked.”

“No one knows what the future holds. Molango told The Sports Desk podcast, “We really can’t afford to take a chance on that.”

“A lot of the time, a sense of impunity is what pushes people to behave in unacceptable ways.”

“Once individuals are aware that they will be followed, identified, and punished, I believe it will be an element that will hopefully encourage people to act better.”

Players have been exposed to “targeted assault” and “left entirely unprotected and isolated during regular, large pitch invasions,” according to the statement signed by PFA chair and Oxford United captain John Mousinho.

They have a “heightened sense of vulnerability” because they are aware that any reaction, even in self-defense, could have “long-term ramifications” due to their profile, according to the report.

“Pitch invasions frequently occur at the end of a crucial game, when a player is already in a heightened emotional state,” it says. As a result, you soon feel cornered and alone when a big number of supporters rush onto the pitch, often obstructing your departure and vision of teammates and personnel.

“There is frequently a pervasive sensation that the situation is out of hand.

“As a stranded player, you quickly find yourself outnumbered, encircled, and vulnerable.”

“It is a terrifying predicament to be in. It’s impossible to determine who poses a threat and, potentially, who is intent on causing significant injury in what may be a chaotic setting when you’re being grabbed, bumped against, and shouted at by fans.”

When family members of players witness pitch invasions, they can feel “helpless, afraid, and traumatized,” according to the statement.

At the EFL summer meeting next month, pitch invasions are expected to be a hot topic.

“We are evaluating our regulations to help stamp out this behavior and safeguard the safety of everyone within a stadium,” the FA added.

Molango stated that it is not the responsibility of the PFA to find answers, and that the difficulties are created by a “small” of fans.

However, he stated that players have expressed concerns about feeling uncomfortable at work and that instances involving invasions have been “predictable.”

“I believe we need to ensure that appropriate lessons are learned as a result of what has occurred, and hopefully we can ensure that people grasp it,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the pitch is the players’ and managers’ workplace, and I believe we sometimes forget that.” Every one of us, I believe, would like to go to work knowing that he or she will be safe and I think that should be the goal.

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