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Police investigate altercation between Patrick Vieira and Everton fan

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

An altercation between Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and an Everton fan after a pitch invasion is being investigated by police.

Footage appeared to show the football manager aim a kick at a supporter after he was approached on the pitch at Goodison Park on Thursday following the Toffees’ 3-2 win which secured their Premier League status.

A force spokesman said: “Merseyside Police is investigating an altercation on the pitch at Goodison Park following the Everton v Crystal Palace match on Thursday.

“We are working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses.

“No formal complaint has been received and enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

Everton fans celebrate on the pitch (Peter Byrne/PA)
Everton fans celebrate on the pitch (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police said four men were arrested and one officer was treated for smoke inhalation as fans ran onto the pitch and set off flares to celebrate Everton’s victory.

Three males were arrested on suspicion of possession of entering or attempting to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework and will attend for voluntary interview at a later date, the force said.

One male was arrested for a breach of the peace and later de-arrested.

Chief Inspector Andy Rankine said: “We know the joy and relief Everton fans felt as they secured Premier League survival, but we always want fans to enjoy such occasions safely and we will not tolerate anti-social or criminal behaviour under any circumstances.

“We have unfortunately seen a trend develop across the country of supporters setting off pyrotechnics inside football grounds.

“It is illegal to bring them into football grounds for a reason, as flares, smoke bombs and fireworks can pose a serious danger to those who carry them, as well as those around them when they are set off.

“Last night, one officer was treated for smoke inhalation after a pyrotechnic was set off close to his face, and it is completely unacceptable that officers working to keep people safe should be exposed to such dangers.

“Bringing items such as smoke bombs, flares and fireworks could lead to fans being arrested, ejected from the stadium and issued with a football banning order of up to five years, or even jailed.

“We will continue to work with Everton to study CCTV footage to identify those who brought smoke bombs, flares or fireworks into Goodison Park and they will be dealt with robustly by the police, the club and the courts.”

The incident came on the day a Nottingham Forest football fan was jailed for headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp at Tuesday’s play-off semi-final.

Thursday also saw a pitch invasion during the League Two play-off semi-final at Vale Park, where Port Vale fans charged on to the pitch with video footage appearing to show some throwing punches at Swindon players.