The Football Association have today released their long-awaited report into pitch invasions and crowd trouble at the London Stadium on 10th March 2018 when West Ham played Burnley.
In a statement, the FA say: “West Ham United FC has been fined £100,000 for failing to ensure that its spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and that no spectators or unauthorised persons encroached onto the pitch during the Premier League match against Burnley FC on Saturday 10 March 2018. The club denied the charge, but it was subsequently found proven, and was sanctioned by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday.
The full report can be found at http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/discipline/written-reasons
The club in response has released a statement on WHUFC.com saying:
“The Club has done everything within its power to address the issues that occurred that day, despite having no control over match-day security operations – a point which is accepted and reflected in the FA’s findings.
“The FA acknowledged the unique set of circumstances under which we operate. The Club is ultimately held responsible for matchday security despite the fact that LS185 the Stadium operator, hold the safety certificate, and therefore along with Stadium landlord E20, control matchday operations.
“Since the events in March last year, the Club has worked with its landlord and operator to ensure issues must be acknowledged transparently and the criticism from the FA dealt with promptly. 19 recommended changes have been made, of which, 18 have been completed and the last one, which requires building works, is on-going. This, together with a number of significant changes in the match day operation, have resulted in no further serious incidents in the stadium.
“The Club has made it clear for some time we would like to have greater control over our matchdays. We have the experience, know-how and a track record of success to oversee matchday operations.
“It is now a matter of public record that our relationship with E20 and LS185 has improved and we are committed to working closely with all necessary agencies and authorities to ensure that safety and security measures are implemented to the highest standards. The safety and security of everyone inside our stadium is our absolute priority.”
Claret and Hugh Opinion:
The truth is, West Ham have only been fined because there is no legal way or mechanism to fine the French London Stadium operator LS185. The report clearly shows that it is the operator who shoulders the majority of the blame. Whether West Ham attempt to recover the fine from the operator remains to be seen but in light of the new relationship with the stadium owners and operators after settling their legal dispute they are likely to take it on the chin and move on.