FA change impacting Leeds United fans after ‘worrying and ugly trend’ trend

The Football Association are considering introducing ’tough’ sanctions in a bid to curb the concerning trend of violent pitch invasions.
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Leeds United could be impacted by potential sanction changes in the Premier League and Cup competitions next season.

A concerning trend began to emerge in the back end of the season just gone, with pitch invasions becoming an issue.

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For the majority of fans, pitch invasions are about celebration, with joyful scenarios giving fans a rare chance to grace the hallowed turf of their stadium.

Most fans enjoy the occasion sensibly, even when overcome with joy, but it’s becoming all too common for some fans to cross the line.

In the season just gone, we saw a number of concerning incidents, with a Nottingham Forest fan headbutting Sheffield United star Billy Sharp.

We also saw a confrontation between Patrick Vieira and an Everton fan, along with further issues at Manchester City and Port Vale.

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At this point, there’s a feeling that something must be done to protect players and staff during pitch invasions.

And that’s something the FA are going to address, according to chair Debbie Hewitt, who says partial or full stadium closures could be introduced, something Leeds fans will need to be aware of if the club achieves pitch invasion-worthy success.

“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,” Hewitt has said.

“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.

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“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 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.”