Manchester City are charged by the FA after ‘violent’ pitch invasion on final day of last season… which saw a fan attack Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen and flares launched into the air
- Fans invaded the pitch at the Etihad after Manchester City won the title last term
- Thousands of fans ran onto the pitch after City won their fourth title in five years
- The Premier League giants have now been charged by the Football Association
- Pep Guardiola’s side have until Thursday, 25 August to respond to the charge
Manchester City have been charged by the Football Association after fans invaded the pitch following their title-winning game against Aston Villa last season.
Thousands of fans made their way out onto the pitch after Pep Guardiola’s side won their fourth Premier League title in five years by beating Villa 3-2 at home.
However, ecstatic scenes at the Etihad Stadium were marred by another pitch invasion – which saw Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen being assaulted.
The FA issued the charge on Thursday morning – giving Manchester City until Thursday, 25 August to respond.
The FA also released a statement that said: ‘It is alleged that after the final whistle of this fixture that Manchester City failed to ensure that its spectators – and all persons purporting to be its supporters or followers – conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from using threatening and/or violent behaviour whilst encroaching onto the pitch.’
The charge came after supporters ran onto the pitch following City’s victory over Aston Villa on the final day of the 2021-2022 Premier League season.
Speaking directly after the incident, the Greater Manchester Police department said they were investigating a number of offences, including criminal damage.
They released 23 images of potential suspects who they felt had ‘put spectators’ safety at risk’.
Manchester City have been charged by the Football Association after fans invaded the pitch following their title-winning game against Aston Villa last season (above)
Police and stewards did all they could to keep the crowd contained but they ultimately failed
They also began the hunt for the hooligan who smacked the Aston Villa goalkeeper Olsen around the head.
A police spokesman said: ‘Inquiries into the reported assault of a player on the pitch after the final whistle are ongoing with officers working in partnership with both football clubs.’
Meanwhile, Manchester City have promised to issue a lifetime ban to the supporter who assaulted Olsen after the game.
When asked at the time if his squad made it back into the changing rooms without any issues, Villa boss Steven Gerrard said: ‘No, my goalkeeper was attacked.
Supporters were hanging on goalposts and one even shattered as fans climbed all over them
Aston Villa’s Robin Olsen (circled) was hit when thousands of Man City fans invaded the pitch
‘I think those questions should go to Manchester City. We’ll go and check if he’s OK now.’
City responded with a statement. ‘The club would like to sincerely apologise to Robin Olsen, who was assaulted after the final whistle when fans entered the pitch,’ it read.
‘The club has launched an immediate investigation and once identified, the individual will be issued an indefinite stadium ban.’
City boss Pep Guardiola added: ‘I’m so sorry on behalf of the club. It is difficult to think why people react in that way. Hopefully we can discover the person and he can be punished.’
Gerrard also revealed his frustration at a failure to hang on to a 2-0 lead that would have contributed towards his old club Liverpool lifting the title.
‘I think we did everything well up until the 70th minute,’ he said. ‘The game plan was working for three quarters of the game and I’m slightly disappointed we didn’t play a little bit more football at 2-0 to rest and stay with the ball.’
Pep Guardiola could not hide his delight at full time as Manchester City retained the title
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: ‘All of a sudden in these last few weeks and months we’ve got these idiots not just running on the pitch, which to be fair is a problem, but actually if you’re attacking players then what the hell are you doing?
‘They’re delirious, they’ve won the league, I get that. But attacking opposition players on the pitch? Where has this come from? It’s absolutely ridiculous.
‘There’s this real sort of threat now and feeling that fans could start to attack people.’
Roy Keane, another Sky pundit, added: ‘It’s disgraceful. It really is. A player or a manager is going to be seriously injured.
‘If you’re mad enough to come on and punch a player then you’re going to be mad enough to do something silly like stab a player. There will be something crazy happen.
‘People have come back after Covid and forgotten how to behave themselves. Idiots, scumbags. It’s a disgrace. We’ve seen it at Forest and with Patrick Vieira. It’s absolutely disgraceful.’