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13th Dec 2021

Chelsea pitch invader can’t be arrested as WCL games not ‘designated matches’

Daniel Brown


Unlike in the men’s game, he cannot be charged for pitch invading

The pitch invader who was barged to the floor by Chelsea’s Sam Kerr during the Blues’ Champions League tie against Juventus last week cannot be charged as the legislation only applies to “designated matches”.

Australian forward Kerr was cheered by the crowd as she dropped an unsuspecting pitch invader to the ground with a shoulder charge on Wednesday night.

The man – who entered the field of play during the closing stages of the goalless draw at Kingsmeadow – briefly interrupted the match as he appeared to try and take photos with Chelsea captain, Magda Eriksson.

As he eventually walked towards the sidelines, Kerr dropped her shoulder into him and forced him to the floor, leading the crowd to show their approval by cheering the Australia captain’s actions.

However, once the man had been removed from the pitch by stewards, the referee showed Kerr a yellow card for the incident.

List excludes women’s games

While the fan has been suspended by Chelsea, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that no arrest has been made.

Under section 4 of the 1991 Football (Offences) Act, it is an arrestable offence to go onto the playing field.

Yet, The Athletic have reported that, because Women’s Champions League and Women’s Super League games are not classified as ‘designated matches’, no arrest could be made. The law states:

“It is an offence for a person at a designated football match to go onto the playing area, or any area adjacent to the playing area to which spectators are not generally admitted, without lawful authority or lawful excuse (which shall be for him to prove).”

A fine of up to £1,000 can be handed to a person found guilty of the offence.

According to the Football (Offences) (Designation of Football Matches) Order 2004, a designated match is classified as “a game in which one or both of the teams represents a club which is a member of the English Football League, the Premier League, the Football Conference or the League of Wales, or represents a country or territory”.

This list evidently excludes women’s games completely, meaning that the pitch invasion was not an arrestable offence unless the man would have assaulted anyone, or committed public indecency.

The Athletic add that the police are not present at women’s games unless factors such as intelligence, attendance numbers, any pre-planned disorder, pockets of criminality, crowd dynamic such as a derby, or counter-terrorism dictate that they need to be in attendance.

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