Sheffield Wednesday fans have complained to police over the way in which a supporter who ran onto the pitch to celebrate the Owls’ win was treated by stewards at Brighton.
Sussex Police revealed the force had received ‘a number of complaints’ about the way Brighton and Hove Albion FC stewards dealt with a 20-year-old fan who ran onto the pitch to celebrate his team’s away win on the first day of the new season.
The 20-year-old fan, from Pontefract, was apprehended by a scrum of stewards after his pitch invasion and was led off the pitch with a sizeable graze on his back clearly visible.
He was arrested by police and issued with a formal police caution.
Mixed reactions have been expressed at the way stewards dealt with the fan, with some suggesting they may have over-reacted while others condemning the Owls supporter for entering the field of play.
Some Wednesday players intervened in the incident and gestured for fans to remain calm when the fan was being restrained by stewards on the pitch.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A 20-year-old man from Pontefract was arrested on suspicion of going on to the playing area at a football match after the final whistle at Brighton and Hove Albion v Sheffield Wednesday at the American Express Community Stadium at Falmer on Saturday.
“He was taken into custody at Brighton and later cautioned for the offence before being released.
“A number of complaints have been received by Sussex Police about the club stewards’ handling of the incident where the man ran on to the pitch.”
A Sheffield Wednesday spokesman said: “Our safety officer has been in touch with his counterpart at Brighton and as far as we are concerned the matter is closed.”
A Brighton and Hove Albion FC spokesman said: “The unwelcome incident involved one Sheffield Wednesday supporter who, against the law, encroached onto the pitch after the final whistle, before resisting the intervention of stewards - kicking two of them in the process.
“The individual was restrained and subsequently arrested.
“Brighton and Hove Albion do not tolerate any spectator behaviour that has the potential to threaten the safety or security of players, match officials, staff or other supporters.
“Had the individual in question remained in the visitors’ area the unsavoury incident would have been avoided altogether. The incident was captured in full on the stadium’s CCTV.
“This footage was reviewed by the club’s safety officer and the police match commander at the time of the incident and again after the match.
“The club and police are entirely satisfied that the club’s stewards acted appropriately and proportionately to the situation they were facing at all times. This footage has been made available to Sussex Police.”