August 11, 2022

Sharp was attacked during a pitch invasion on Tuesday night

Nottingham Forest could be forced to play the first game of next season behind closed doors after a fan attacked Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp on Tuesday night.

Forest fans celebrated following their 3-2 penalty shoot-out win against the Blades to reach the play-off final against Huddersfield Town on May 29.

Forest fans invaded the pitch after winning the shoot-out

However, during the pitch invasion at the City Ground, footage showed a fan attacking United captain Sharp, who had been standing at the side of the pitch at the time. The striker was sent crashing to the ground by a vicious head butt which left him bleeding.

Nottinghamshire Police have since confirmed that they have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of assault in relation to the incident while the club have confirmed that he will be banned for life.

The FA have released a statement confirming they will investigate the incident

A Football Association spokesperson has also revealed that they will be conducting their own investigation into what happened before deciding on an appropriate action.

They said: “We are aware of the very serious incident that took place after the match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

“We will be investigating the incident as a matter of urgency and will be working alongside the clubs and the relevant authorities to ensure the appropriate steps are taken.”

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Meanwhile a statement from the Professional Footballers’ Association added: “We are shocked and appalled by the senseless assault by a fan on Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp.

“The football pitch is a place of work for our members. This is one of a growing number of incidents this season.

“Matchday security and fan disorder needs to be reviewed ahead of next season and we will be raising player safety with the clubs, leagues and the UK Football Policing Unit.

“There is no place in football for this behaviour. We recognise that stewards and the police have a very difficult job, a suspect has been arrested and Nottingham Forest have confirmed the offender will be banned for life.”

Reports at the Daily Mail have suggested that one of the actions that could be taken could result in Forest having to play their first game of the 2022/23 season behind closed doors.

If it was to happen and Forest were promoted, it would mean fans miss out on the first top-flight game to be held at the City Ground since 1999.

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