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Southend supporter banned from matches after assaulting Woking player

A Southend United supporter has been banned from matches after assaulting a Woking player, it has been confirmed this week.

A 29 year old fan has been banned from football matches for three years after admitting to an assault on a Woking player at the fixture in 2022.

Defender Luke Wilkinson was targeted as the match was coming to an end of the match at Roots Hall on the 4th of October.

29 year old Jake Devlin of Littlebury Green, Basildon, admitted the assault at Basildon Magistrates’ Court.

“Devlin’s actions were completely unacceptable,” said PC Keith Baker from Essex Police.

Devlin was told he cannot enter the town, city or parish where a match is taking place – of any standard between the Premier League and National Leagues in England, Wales and Scotland – either eight hours before or after the scheduled kick-off time.

“No-one in their line of work should be faced with a threat of violence and football players are no different,” PC Baker said.

Devlin was handed a fine of £300 at the hearing on Thursday and ordered to pay a £120 surcharge and £105 prosecution costs.

A club statement from Woking FC at the time said: “Woking Football Club is aware of disturbing incidents that occurred in the closing minutes of our match at Roots Hall this evening, including but not limited to racial abuse directed at one of the Club’s players.

“The Club has been in contact with the relevant authorities and will provide an update in due course.

“Woking Football Club stands united against racism and discrimination of all kinds — both on and off the pitch.”

A Southend statement said: “The club are aware of a complaint of racism which has been made against one of our supporters.

“We take issues such as this very seriously and we are assisting the police with their enquiries into the allegation.

“Racism is abhorrent and we will take firm action against anyone who is identified as using racist language.”

NATIONAL LEAGUE STATEMENT ON FAN BEHAVIOUR

Every football fan should feel safe when watching their team. But last season we saw a minority of supporters ruining the game for others.

That’s why The National League are supporting strong measures across football to tackle antisocial and criminal behaviours within football grounds.

These include entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyros and throwing objects onto the pitch, as well as discriminatory behaviour and taking drugs. All of these are illegal, dangerous and have no place in our game.

For everyone’s safety, clubs will report anyone carrying out these offences to the police, which can result in a permanent criminal record.

These measures could also now apply to the
parents or guardians of children involved in these activities.

From the start of the 2022/23 season, anyone who enters the pitch and those carrying or using smoke bombs and pyros will now automatically be banned by their club.

These measures reflect the seriousness of the risks to fans and staff – pyros can burn at 2000 degrees Celsius and cause life-changing injuries, while entering the pitch endangers players, managers and match officials – it is impossible for anyone to tell the difference between a celebrating fan and a violent attacker.

The football authorities are working with clubs and the Football Supporters’ Association to make sure everyone feels safe on matchdays.

We ask all fans to come together to show that those
who commit these illegal acts do not represent the majority of supporters.

Laurence Jones, Head of National League System at The FA said:

“Anti-social fan behaviour has no place in football, and we stand united across the NLS and the rest of the game to send a strong message that such incidents will not be tolerated.

“The FA and the NLS Leagues are taking an all-football approach to tackling these behaviours to ensure all participants, including our loyal volunteers and spectators, are free to watch matches in a family friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.”

National League General Manager Mark Ives added:

“No football fan should ever have to attend a game and feel unsafe.

“The pitch must remain safe for players, managers and match officials, just as the stands, terraces and hard standing should be for supporters.

“The National League are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other NLS Leagues to create a strong stance that condemns anti-social behaviour in everyone in football can protect each other, their club and the game.”

Love Football. Protect the Game.

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