Man arrested on suspicion of assault after Sharp was floored during pitch invasion

A man is arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was left needing stitches after being floored during pitch invasion after play-off semi final as City Ground chiefs vow to ban any offenders for life

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was apparently attacked when Nottingham Forest fans spilled on to the pitch at the end of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final.

Sharp was left needing stitches following the incident during a game where he was deemed not fit to play due to an injury. 

Nottinghamshire Police’s chief inspector Paul Hennessy said: ‘A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers.

‘Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation.’

The Blades captain was sidelined for the second leg because of injury and was stood on the touchline after Forest secured a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout victory following a 3-3 aggregate draw, which precipitated a pitch invasion at the City Ground.

Footage shared on social media appears to show one supporter running at the 36-year-old former Forest striker and knocking him to the ground.

Police have confirmed a man has been arrested after Sheffield United Billy Sharp was left needing stiches having been floored during a pitch invasion 

Sharp was already injured for the game and had been standing on the touchline during his side's Championship play-off semi-final tie

Sharp was already injured for the game and had been standing on the touchline during his side’s Championship play-off semi-final tie 

Forest have condemned the incident and said in a statement they will ‘will work with the authorities to locate the individual’ and the offender will be subject to ‘a life ban’ from the club.

A club statement read: ‘Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight’s match at the City Ground.

‘The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest.

‘The club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club.’

It came after fiery contest between Forest and Sheffield United conclude with delirious fans rushing onto the pitch to celebrate the shootout victory – with footage showing Sharp floored after an individual from out of his line of sight. 

Tensions ran high during the game before Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Championship play-off final

Tensions ran high during the game before Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Championship play-off final

Delirious supporters surged onto the pitch at the City Ground to celebrate their first visit to Wembley Stadium since 1992

Delirious supporters surged onto the pitch at the City Ground to celebrate their first visit to Wembley Stadium since 1992

His manager Paul Heckingbottom slammed the ‘cowardly’ attack and called on authorities to impose the highest punishment possible. 

‘Billy was minding his own business and he was assaulted, blind-sided,’ said manager Paul Heckingbottom.

‘It was cowardly. Billy is shaken up and he needed stitches. We have the footage.

‘We always see people talking about player safety but nothing is ever done about it.’

‘We’re seeing things thrown on the pitch and things that are thrown on putting players’ health and safety in danger and nothing’s ever done about it.

‘There will be something done about that. We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened. There’s a prison sentence there without a doubt.

Nottingham Forest have vowed to ban any offenders for life if found guilty of assault

Nottingham Forest have vowed to ban any offenders for life if found guilty of assault 

‘How can you come to a place of work minding your own business and be assaulted in that fashion?

‘It’s just bang out of order and it’s everything that’s wrong. Too many times we hear people condemn it, but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones that suffered.

‘It’s upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with.’

Covering the game for Sky Sports, former Forest defender Michael Dawson condemned the incident, saying: ‘That is an absolute disgrace.’

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