Leeds Utd apology over crowd trouble
LEEDS United Football Club has issued an apology to Ipswich Town fans who were caught up in violent scenes during Saturday's match.Chief executive Shaun Harvey condemned the behaviour of a “minority” of the Yorkshire club's fans and said the incident was “the exception not the rule”.
By Jonathan Barnes
LEEDS United Football Club has issued an apology to Ipswich Town fans who were caught up in violent scenes during Saturday's match.
Chief executive Shaun Harvey condemned the behaviour of a “minority” of the Yorkshire club's fans and said the incident was “the exception not the rule”.
Several Ipswich supporters were injured after being pelted by missiles following a pitch invasion in the dying moments of the 1-1 draw.
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Home fans reacted angrily after a late Ipswich goal virtually condemned their team to relegation to the third tier of England football.
Mr Harvey has now penned an open letter to Ipswich fans to apologise for their ordeal.
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“I am writing on behalf of both the club and the vast majority of Leeds supporters to apologise for the actions of a minority of our supporters whose behaviour, during the pitch invasion that occurred, was indefensible,” he said.
“To all those Ipswich supporters who were injured by the actions of our so-called supporters we hope you make a speedy recovery.
“And to those for whom the experience of witnessing the events is giving them second thoughts about attending fixtures to watch Ipswich Town away from Portman Road in the future then please be assured that what you saw on Saturday was the exception not the rule.
“The actions of a few are condemned by both the club and the majority of our supporters.”
He added: “The club will be working with West Yorkshire Police in the forthcoming weeks to identify as many of those as possible involved on Saturday and when they are caught, they can expect a lengthy ban from Elland Road.”
Ipswich fans said their rival supporters had thrown coins, bottles and lighters at them and a number of injuries were reported. A former Ipswich player, Tommy O'Neill, is believed to have suffered a broken jaw.
West Yorkshire Police said they had made 11 arrests at the game for public order offences.
The Football Association has launched an investigation into the pitch invasion and the club is likely to face severe sanctions.
n More than 200 officers from Suffolk and British Transport Police have been drafted in to oversee Ipswich Town's last game of the season.
The Blues take on Cardiff at Portman Road on Sunday and police last night urged supporters of both teams to behave responsibly.
Chief Superintendent Tim Beach, southern area commander, will be overseeing the policing operation.
He said: “We hope that people celebrate this weekend's match sensibly and in the right spirit.
“We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, violence, racial chanting, mindless vandalism or any alcohol-fuelled disorder.
“We will continue our use of firm but fair policing to ensure the safety of those attending the game and those members of the public wishing to go about their normal business.”
The turnstiles and stadium bars will be open from 11.30am and kick-off is at 1pm.