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Birmingham and Arsenal charged over pitch invasions

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was punched by a Birmingham fan during Sunday’s ‘second city’ derby.

Aston Villa players swarm around Jack Grealish after he is punched by a fan.
Aston Villa players swarm around Jack Grealish after he is punched by a fan.
Image: Nick Potts

BIRMINGHAM AND ARSENAL have been charged by the FA after separate pitch invasions that included the shocking attack on Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.

Birmingham were hit with a charge of failing to ensure fans conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the Championship fixture against bitter rivals Aston Villa on Sunday.

Villa captain Jack Grealish was punched and knocked to the turf by a Birmingham fan in the ninth minute of Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Blues in the ‘second city’ derby at St Andrew’s.

“Birmingham City FC has been charged with breaches of FA Rule E20 (a) and (b),” an FA statement said.

“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 EFL Championship fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday.”

Birmingham fan Paul Mitchell, 27, was subsequently jailed for 14 weeks for his attack on Grealish after pleading guilty to assault and invading the pitch.

Birmingham City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship - St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium Birmingham fan Paul Mitchell was subsequently jailed for his attack on Grealish. Source: EMPICS Sport

He was also banned from all football stadiums for 10 years by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, while Blues imposed a lifetime ban from their fixtures.

Arsenal were also charged in connection with an incident in which a spectator ran on to the pitch during Sunday’s Premier League win over Manchester United.

After Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a 2-0 victory with his second-half penalty, the fan barged past United defender Chris Smalling.

A 30-year-old man has been charged with common assault and bailed to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on March 26.

The Gunners were hit with the same charge. Both clubs have until next Friday 22 March to respond to the charges.

© – AFP 2018

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