Fan enters pitch, chases ref in League One game

A fan had to be restrained by coaches and staff after running onto the pitch to confront the referee during the League One fixture between Port Vale and Portsmouth on Saturday.

The supporter entered the field of play shortly after referee Craig Hicks awarded a penalty to Portsmouth that Colby Bishop converted to give the away side a 1-0 win.

Hicks ran away from the fan and headed toward the tunnel at Port Vale’s Vale Park Stadium before the individual was restrained by head coach Andy Crosby and other staff in the technical area in front of the substitutes’ benches.

The fan was eventually removed from the pitch, and the match in English football’s third tier was able to resume.

“Port Vale Football Club condemn the actions of the individual who entered the field of play during today’s match against Portsmouth,” the club said in a statement.

“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the matter and the individual is dealt with a zero tolerance approach.

“We remind all supporters that entering the field of play is a criminal offence.”

The English Football League (EFL) and Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body which manages referees in England, released a joint statement on the confrontation.

“We are appalled by the incident in today’s League One fixture between Port Vale and Portsmouth which saw referee Craig Hicks chased off the field of play and condemn the mindless actions of the individual involved,” it said.

“Match officials should never feel threatened for their safety when playing a pivotal role in the staging of games in our competitions.

“We will provide our full support to Craig and his team alongside Port Vale and the relevant authorities as they seek to bring this individual to justice.”

The result saw Portsmouth remain top of League One while Port Vale are just one place above the relegation zone.


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