The idiot who ran onto the pitch and pushed Manchester United’s Chris Smalling during the 2-0 win at the Emirates on Sunday is likely to find himself banned from the ground – possibly on a permanent basis – and he’s also succeeded in bringing down FA charges on the club because of his behaviour.
An FA statement released today says:
“It is alleged the club failed to ensure that its spectator[s] conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from encroaching onto the pitch during the Premier League fixture against Manchester United on Sunday [10/03/2019].”
The club have until next Friday, March 22nd, to respond. It followed a more serious incident earlier in the day when Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was assaulted by a Birmingham City fan who has subsequently been jailed for 14 weeks, so there’s a very heavy spotlight on the game’s governing body and how they deal with situations like this.
Although Smalling was unhurt, and Arsenal apologised in full immediately, there may well be heavy sanctions to act as a deterrent to fans of other clubs.
A fine is a certainty; playing a game behind closed doors a possibility; and it’s within the auspices of the FA to hand out a points deduction should they deem the incident serious enough.
Hopefully it’ll just be a fine and a warning, but when two incidents like this happen in one go there’s probably a need to make it clear to all clubs that such behaviour is not acceptable, so we’ll wait a bit nervously until this is decided.