The English Football League have released a statement regarding the ugly incident that marred the opening of the second city derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa.
A Birmingham fan entered the pitch and approached Villa’s Jack Grealish from behind before striking him with his fist, leaving the player on the floor and sparking what could have turned into a melee on the pitch.
EFL ‘Condemn’ Action of Birmingham City Fan
Grealish, miraculously, did not react to the actions of the Birmingham supporter. While his teammates crowded around the fan as he was wrestled to the ground by the stewards, they too made no significant reaction to make the situation worse.
The fan was dragged off the pitch by a steward from the ground before being handed over to a police officer. West Midlands Police later tweeted that the man had been arrested and was on his way to a custody block.
ARREST: Following the incident on the pitch involving an attack on an Aston Villa player; a man has been arrested and en route to a custody block. Further details to follow. pic.twitter.com/fed9KrHBgl
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) March 10, 2019
Following the incident, the EFL released a statement that said:
“The EFL condemns the mindless actions of the individual who encroached on to the pitch at St Andrews on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a situation no player should ever be faced with.
“In all circumstances the playing surface is for players, not supporters and those playing in the game must be able to do so safe in the knowledge they will not be subjected to this type of behaviour.
“Whilst this incident falls within the remit of the Football Association, we will work with all the relevant parties to address the issue of player and match officials safety on the pitch and ensure the appropriate action is taken.”
The Rest of the Game
Villa went on to win the game, with Grealish scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win at St Andrew’s to secure the double for his side over Birmingham this season.
Jack Grealish scores a well-deserved goal 👏
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 10, 2019