Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster charged with 'common assault' after incident following Nottingham Forest pitch invasion

Sheffield United have expressed their ‘disappointment’ after Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster were charged following an incident that occured in the wake of a pitch invasion by Nottingham Forest fans.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:14 pm

Following the play-off semi-final second leg at the City Ground which Forest one on penalties, home supporters invaded the pitch.

Amid that, Blades skipper Billy Sharp was assaulted as he stood on the pitchside.

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In the days following the match, a video circulated on social media appeared to show some United players becoming involved in an altercation with a Nottingham Forest supporter who had ran on from the stands.

United revealed on Thursday that Brewster and McBurnie have been charged by Nottinghamshire Police over the incident.

The force have since confirmed that the pair have been charged with common assault.

A statement from Nottinghamshire Police read: “Two men have been informed that summonses have been issued following an incident at the end of a football match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster have been charged by Nottinghamshire Police following an incident that occured when Nottingham Forest fans invaded the pitch after the play-off semi-final second leg. : Alex Pantling/PA Wire.

"Rhian Brewster, aged 22, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, and Oli McBurnie, aged 26, of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, are to be charged with common assault in relation to disorder at the conclusion of a game at the City Ground on 17 May 2022.

"Both men are due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 28 July 2022.”

Both players deny the charges, said Sheffield United.

“Sheffield United Football Club is disappointed to learn that Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie have been charged following the incidents that took place at the EFL Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest last month,” read a statement on the club’s website.

“Both players voluntarily engaged in interviews with Nottinghamshire Police in the aftermath of the fixture which saw their team-mate, Billy Sharp, the victim of assault in the chaos which followed the final whistle.

"Brewster and McBurnie strenuously deny the charges brought against them and football manager Paul Heckingbottom, who wrote letters to the League Managers’ Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the EFL and FA following a number of pitch invasions last month, including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, is continuing discussions with key stakeholders in a bid to better protect players and staff in their place of work.”

Responsibility for sanctioning individual fans lies with the police and with clubs, but FA chair Debbie Hewitt says her organisation will introduce the toughest possible sanctions to deal with such incidents next season, which could lead to partial or even full stadium closures for serious offences.

“It’s a worrying and ugly trend. The pitch is sacred and players, match officials and coaches have to be able to play in a safe environment,” she said.

“If you look at some of the footage that happened at the end of last season, it was disturbing and anything but safe for those players and indeed for some of those fans that invaded the pitch.

“It’s a huge concern and we are working in the FA to put in place the toughest possible sanctions that we can.

“We plan – probably the week before the new season starts – to make a statement on that.”