World Incidents Sport

Fan attacks Aston Villa player Jack Grealish on pitch during Championship match

A football fan attacked Aston Villa player Jack Grealish on Sunday after rushing onto the pitch amid a Championship game against Birmingham City.

West Midlands Police confirmed in a brief statement that the spectator had been arrested and taken into custody.

In footage of the incident, the fan is seen approaching Grealish from behind, before punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground.

Grealish remained on the ground as authorities apprehended the trespasser, and was later helped up by his fellow players.

The Aston Villa midfielder was reportedly unhurt in the altercation, going on to score the only goal of the match.

Birmingham City said there were “no excuses” for the fan’s behaviour, confirming he would receive a lifetime ban from the club’s stadium.

“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act,” the club said in a statement.

“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.”

The English Football League (EFL) condemned the incident in a statement posted to its website.

“It’s a situation no player should ever be faced with,” the EFL said.

“In all circumstances the playing surface is for players, not supporters and those playing in the game must be able to do so safe in the knowledge they will not be subjected to this type of behaviour.”

While Aston Villa and Grealish himself have not yet publicly commented on the incident, several other high-profile members of the footballing community have spoken up.

Former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville said Birmingham City would have to take “a huge punishment” for the incident.

“A points deduction or empty stadium for 10 games,” he suggested.

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