Arsenal and Birmingham charged after spectators encroach pitches

Arsenal and Birmingham have both been charged by the Football Association in connection with incidents which saw spectators run onto the pitch.

The Gunners and Blues have both been accused of failing to ensure fans could not encroach onto the pitch, while the Championship club have also been charged with failing to ensure that a spectator “refrained from improper or violent conduct” after Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish was punched.

Announcing the Arsenal charge, an FA spokesperson said: “Arsenal has been charged with breaches of FA Rule E20 (a) and (b).

“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, March 10.

“They have until March 22 to respond.”

A 30-year-old man has been charged with common assault and bailed to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on March 26 in connection with an incident at the Emirates Stadium.

He is alleged to have made contact with Manchester United defender Chris Smalling during the Gunners’ 2-0 Premier League victory.

Birmingham have been charged after Villa’s Grealish was attacked from behind by a spectator during their 1-0 win at St Andrew’s, also on Sunday.

An FA spokesperson said: “Birmingham has been charged with breaches of FA Rule E20 (a) and (b).

“It is alleged the club failed to ensure that its spectator(s) conducted themselves in an orderly fashion; refrained from improper or violent conduct and refrained from encroaching onto the pitch during the Championship fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday, March 10.

“They have until March 22 to respond.”

Paul Mitchell, 27, of Rubery, Worcestershire, was jailed for 14 weeks and banned from attending football matches for 10 years after pleading guilty to assault earlier this week.

Meanwhile, both Birmingham and Villa were earlier hit with a charge of failing to control their players following a fifth-minute bust-up during a high-octane game.

Tempers flared after Grealish was was caught by a rash challenge from Maikel Kieftenbeld.

An FA spokesperson said the club had “failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the fifth minute of the fixture”.

- Press Association

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