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Sheffield United players facing assault charges after rival fans’ pitch invasion

Nottingham Forest fans celebrate on the pitch after they reached the play off final (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Nottingham Forest fans celebrate on the pitch after they reached the play off final (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Two Sheffield United footballers are set to face charges of common assault after a police investigation into incidents during the club’s play-off semi-final loss to Nottingham Forest.

The club said it was “disappointed” to learn that Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie had been summonsed to court, following the conclusion of an inquiry by Nottinghamshire Police.

In a statement the force said both men were set to appear at magistrates’ court next month, where they will each face a charge of common assault.

The allegations relate to the club’s Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second-leg match at the City Ground in Nottingham against Forest.

The home side won the match 3-2 on penalties.

The fixture, on May 17, then saw a pitch invasion by victorious Forest fans – during which Blades skipper Billy Sharp was assaulted and a man later charged, convicted and jailed for 24 weeks.

Nottinghamshire Police said: “Two men have been informed that summonses have been issued following an incident at the end of a football match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.”

The force said the allegations were “in relation to disorder at the conclusion of a game at the City Ground”.

The Yorkshire club, in a statement posted on its website, said: “Sheffield United Football Club is disappointed to learn that Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie have been charged following the incidents that took place at the EFL Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest last month.

“Both players voluntarily engaged in interviews with Nottinghamshire Police in the aftermath of the fixture which saw their team-mate, Billy Sharp, the victim of assault in the chaos which followed the final whistle.

“Brewster and McBurnie strenuously deny the charges brought against them and football manager Paul Heckingbottom, who wrote letters to the League Managers’ Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the EFL and FA following a number of pitch invasions last month – including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira – is continuing discussions with key stakeholders in a bid to better protect players and staff in their place of work.”

Brewster, 22, of Wilmslow in Cheshire, and McBurnie, 26, of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, will appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on July 28.