Incidents at a Brighton vs Crystal Palace football match yesterday evening (Tuesday, 28) have been described by a Sussex Police Inspector as the ‘most challenging football-related disorder that I have ever experienced’.
Police said six people were arrested following a number of reports.
They included people attempting to enter the Amex through fire doors with pyrotechnics, knives and knuckledusters, and a large number of people without tickets overrunning turnstiles, with pyrotechnic devices fired throughout the match.
Brighton & Hove Albion said several stewards were left with minor injuries, while one from each club was hospitalised.
Leading the police operation during the game, Chief Inspector Simon Nelson said:
“I have been involved in football policing at all levels and have been a match commander for Albion matches for 12 years, but I have never come across such concerted attempts to cause disorder, and engage in violent behaviour.
“We will be reviewing our operation and discussing the events of the afternoon and evening with the clubs.
“This was a return to the dark days of football and is not acceptable.”
Of the six arrested, Michael Shaw, 45, an electrician of Truleigh Drive, Portslade, has been charged with being a football spectator failing to comply with a banning order.
Kamar Jalal, 30, a financial director from Horley, and Mark Kentfield, 41, of Duke Terrace Street, St Leonards, have both been charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
All three have been bailed to appear before magistrates’ next month.
A 26-year-old man from South Croydon, and a 15-year-old boy from Brighton arrested have been released under investigation.
A 51-year-old man from Worthing also arrested remained in custody as of this afternoon (Wednesday, 29).
Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber said:
“The disorder was caused by a minority of individuals who attempted to gain entry to the stadium without tickets.
“Thanks to the swift action of the club’s stewarding team, supported by Sussex Police, we avoided further, major disorder – and while some genuine fans were left extremely disappointed and unable to get into the stadium, the correct decisions were made.”
Police said a number of Crystal Palace supporters with genuine tickets were unable to enter the ground following the incidents in the interest of public safety.
A spokesperson for Crystal Palace added:
“This kind of antisocial and criminal behaviour is completely unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
“There are very clear images of the incident and we will work with the police to identify the supporters involved, who will face stadium bans as well as potential criminal proceedings.
“We would like to apologise to all the innocent supporters who arrived at the stadium with tickets but were denied entry and to the two stewards who were injured at the ground.”
The club said those denied entry will be eligible for a refund.