Police have charged Sheffield United strikers Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie following the pitch invasion that marred the climax of the club’s Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
United confirmed the charges in a statement but did not specify the alleged offences committed, saying only that both players “strenuously deny” them.
A Forest season-ticket holder, Robert Biggs, was last month jailed for almost six months for headbutting United captain Billy Sharp during the pitch invasion that followed the second leg of the play-off semi-final.
Sharp, former Liverpool youngster Brewster and Scotland international McBurnie all missed the game through injury but were part of United’s travelling party.
The club 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 [English Football League] and FA [Football Association] 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.”
English football’s governing bodies have vowed to launch a crackdown on pitch invasions next season, which could see partial, or even full, stadium closures imposed on offending teams.
Confirming earlier this week an announcement would be made shortly before the start of the new campaign, FA chair Debbie Hewitt said: “I’d like the strongest possible sanctions that we can have, so I think that says enough about what we’ll be bringing in.”