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Football authorities warn fans about pitch invasions

The football authorities have warned fans against pitch invasions as the season draws to a close to avoid a repeat of last year's "unwelcome scenes".

Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted by a pitch invader, who was later jailed, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was assaulted at the Etihad Stadium as supporters ran onto the pitch after Manchester City won the Premier League at the end of last season.

The incidents led to the Premier League and English Football League introducing automatic club bans for pitch invaders, and fans have been reminded they also risk facing police action and criminal records if they are involved in pitch invasions or caught using pyrotechnics.

"The passionate support of fans is a vital part of what makes football so special in this country. It is completely understandable that emotions run high, particularly at this stage of the season when there is so much to play for," read a joint statement from various governing bodies.

"However, we must remind supporters that in the interests of safety and well-being for everyone inside our stadiums, the pitch is for players, managers and officials, while the stands are there for fans to support their team.

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