Birmingham avoid FA probe as Carling Cup violence occurred outside the stadium

27 January 2011 03:41
Birmingham will not face a FA probe into the crowd trouble at last night's Carling Cup semi-final clash with West Ham.

The offences took place outside Birmingham's St Andrew's stadium and therefore do not come under the jurisdiction of football's governing body.

Blues remain under investigation by the FA following the ugly scenes which marred their Carling Cup quarter-final win over local rivals Aston Villa in December, when home fans invaded the pitch and flares were thrown.

Trouble ahead: Police officers watch the crowd during the final seconds of the Carling Cup semi-final

Police personnel prevented any trouble inside the ground during lastnight's match by surrounding the perimeter of the pitch at the finalwhistle.

A total of 17 people were arrested in disturbances outside theground, and Blues have pledged to aid the police in identifying otheroffenders.

Second line of defence: In total 17 arrests were made

A club spokesman said: 'As always we co-operate fully with thepolice and, if there is any trouble at any game, we will always assistthe police in identifying the culprits.'

West Midlands Police said its operation in and around the stadiuminvolved dog handlers, the force's helicopter and specialistevidence-gathering teams.

Preparing for the worst: The police wore riot protection gear

After the final whistle, police continued to monitor the city centre, transport hubs and bars for several hours.

Eyewitnesses said some fans were seen standing on top of vehiclesbefore the match as supporters tried to confront each other in a carpark at St Andrew's.

Today, investigations into outbreaks of 'sporadic disorder' started as officers used CCTV to identify those responsible.

Pure delight: Birmingham City will now play Arsenal in the final at Wembley

Superintendent Steve Graham, who commanded the policing operation,said: 'The vast majority of spectators enjoyed a really exciting matchin the spirit of friendly rivalry.

'Unfortunately, a very small minority used the game as an excuse tocause trouble. An investigation into outbreaks of sporadic disorder hasnow begun and we will be using CCTV footage to identify thoseresponsible.'

Spt Graham said as well as a criminal conviction, those found guiltyof football-related violence face a lifetime ban imposed by the cluband a football banning order.

Birmingham won last night's match 3-1 after extra time to progress to the final with a 4-3 aggregate victory.

 Police make 17 arrests after Carling Cup violence at St Andrew'sBirmingham fan Gardner in dreamland after firing Blues to Carling Cup finalMcLeish expresses his pride at his side's first Wembley final in 55 yearsAll the latest West Ham news, features and opinionAll the latest Birmingham news, features and opinion

 Explore more:Places: Birmingham

Source: Daily_Mail