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Kirkland shocked by fan attack

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20 Oct 2012 16:17:36

Kirkland shocked by fan attack

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has spoken of his shock at being attacked by a Leeds fan at Hillsborough - and urged the authorities to take swift action to prevent a repeat.

Kirkland was attacked after Michael Tonge's 76th-minute equaliser for Leeds. The fan shoved him strongly in the face with both hands, knocking him over.

Former England keeper Kirkland said in a statement released by Wednesday: "I thought he was going to give me some abuse but then suddenly he came at me with both hands and I was stunned."

He added: "I felt the full force and I was just shocked because you never know what could have been in his hands."

The suspect has been identified by the police but has yet to be arrested. He has been named on social media sites but not by the police. The Football Association confirmed it is investigating the incident and is awaiting the referee's report.

South Yorkshire Police's senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Mark Monteiro, said: "With the public's assistance we have clearly identified the offender who ran on to the pitch during last night's game between Sheffield Wednesday FC and Leeds United FC and who is suspected of assaulting the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper.

"We are dealing with the complaint made by the player and we are currently taking statements, collating evidence and making inquiries to locate and arrest the offender. We are also using CCTV footage from around the ground to identify suspects who may have been responsible for other offences before, during or after the match."

An FA spokesman said: "The FA condemns the scenes at Hillsborough last night. We have begun an immediate investigation and have been in contact with both clubs. We would call for the authorities to identify and bring before the courts anyone who was involved in any form of criminal disorder."

There were five arrests for various offences including public order before and after the game, while three people were ejected from the ground and 12 were subject to dispersal orders.

Leeds issued a statement after the game pledging to identify the man involved in the incident. It read: "Leeds United Football Club would like to publicly apologise and condemn the action of the fan who came on the pitch and attacked Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland. The club will fully co-operate with the police and the football authorities in identifying the individual concerned."


PA

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