FA confirm change impacting Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham fans after pitch invasion issues

Supporters of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham could all potentially be affected by new FA sanctions.

The FA could resort to full or partial stadium closures in an effort to curb the rise of crowd disorder in the upper echelons of the English football pyramid, according to the governing body’s chair, Debbie Hewitt.

Several Premier League and EFL matches were marred by incidents involving pitch invasions and player assaults, with a perceived increase in the latter stages of the campaign.

A Nottingham Forest supporter was jailed and given a 10-year football banning order following an incident in May in which Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was assaulted, while players were also confronted by invading supporters during matches at Manchester City, Northampton Town, and Port Vale.

Another high-profile incident saw Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira involved in an altercation with a spectator when Everton fans ran on to the pitch at Goodison Park after the Toffees secured their Premier League survival last month.

As yet, no disciplinary charges have yet been brought against any clubs in response to the disturbances, although the FA does have precedent for issuing sanctions, with Birmingham City fined £42,500 in 2019 when a spectator entered the field of play and assaulted Jack Grealish, then of Aston Villa.

In terms of stadium closures, both partial and full, UEFA have imposed such measures on numerous occasions in direct response to similar incidents on the continent - and Hewitt has suggested that English authorities could follow suit in the future.

What did Hewitt say about crowd disorder?

Speaking about an increase in crowd trouble last season, Hewitt said: “It’s a worrying and ugly trend. The pitch is sacred and players, match officials and coaches have to be able to play in a safe environment.

“If you look at some of the footage that happened at the end of last season, it was disturbing and anything but safe for those players and indeed for some of those fans that invaded the pitch.

“It’s a huge concern and we are working with the FA to put in place the toughest possible sanctions that we can.

“I think the thing that pleased me when we started to have the debate, when we first saw this trend appearing (the assumption was) ‘oh the clubs won’t want (sanctions), the clubs will reject it’, and actually, anything but.

“I was at a session with all of the Premier League clubs a week or so ago and every club in that room was (saying) ‘we have to put in place tougher sanctions’. There was absolutely no resistance, (there was) complete and utter alignment on what we need to do.

“We plan – probably the week before the new season starts – to make a statement on that.”

Asked directly about the possibility of stadium closures, Hewitt replied: “I’d like the strongest possible sanctions that we can have, so I think that says enough about what we’ll be bringing in.”