Kick It Out update following reports of homophobic literature at EFL Cup clash
Kick It Out has released the following update in relation to the English Football League (EFL) Cup fourth-round tie between West Ham United and Chelsea.
The statement reads: “Kick It Out received reports of homophobic literature being distributed before last night’s EFL Cup game between West Ham United and Chelsea at the London Stadium.
“In line with the organisation’s usual reporting procedures, Kick It Out has gathered the reports and sent to The FA and will work alongside them and liaise, where appropriate, with the clubs.
“Kick It Out strongly condemns any form of discrimination and urges for appropriate action to be taken as soon as possible.”
Crowd trouble marred West Ham’s EFL Cup fourth-round home win over Chelsea, with police making seven arrests.
Plastic bottles, seats and coins were thrown during the Hammers’ 2-1 victory at London Stadium as hundreds of supporters clashed and riot police entered the concourse.
It is the latest outbreak of disorder at West Ham’s new ground this season.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic called the behaviour ‘unacceptable’, adding: “We are totally against it as a club.”
The Premier League club says it will ban any fans involved for life and is confident it can identify those responsible via its high-definition CCTV system and through fans’ ticket purchasing history.
The Football Association and EFL are also investigating. A league spokesman called the incidents ‘distasteful and unwelcome’.
Security was boosted for the London derby and an alcohol ban imposed as part of a ‘robust policing plan’ following crowd trouble at the stadium this season.
Until Wednesday’s match, the Metropolitan Police have not deployed officers inside the stadium because the radio system emergency services use to communicate will not be operational until 2017.
This season, the Hammers’ first at the former Olympic Stadium following their move from Upton Park, 23 fans have been banned from the ground.
Four people were arrested following disorder at the Premier League match against Middlesbrough on 1 October, while there were clashes in the stands during the defeat by Watford in September.
The Metropolitan Police, who made seven arrests for alleged public order offences, described Wednesday’s incidents as ‘unacceptable’ and said 30 people were prevented from attending the match.
It said part of its investigation will include ‘a leaflet handed out before the match containing homophobic contents’.
Images on social media before the game appeared to show a song sheet being distributed with homophobic lyrics aimed at Chelsea defender John Terry and striker Diego Costa.
Bilic added: “For those kind of things to happen, especially in England, is unacceptable.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “I don’t really like to see these situations.”
One fan at the game told BBC Radio 5 live it ‘was an absolute nightmare’, adding: ‘If they don’t close that stadium someone will get killed there.’
West Ham said in a statement they ‘unreservedly condemn’ fans’ behaviour and will work to identify those supporters involved, while Chelsea said they were ‘extremely disappointed to see disturbances’.
Police commander BJ Harrington said: “There were a minority of people who attended the match that were clearly intent on being involved in confrontation and violence.
“Despite extensive work with both clubs and a large and robust policing operation, there were unacceptable incidents inside and outside the stadium, before, during and after the game.”
Chelsea season ticket holders Paul Streeter and his eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, were sitting in the disabled section and got caught up in the violence.
“My daughter was hit with seven coins all over her body”, said Mr Streeter. “We were watching the game in the front row near to the home fans – suddenly there’s a whole load of coins coming over. Other kids were hit, it was not just my daughter.
“Victoria has been going to football since she was two, she’s never experienced violence like this before or the aggression we have had to suffer. We want to take this matter further. It is disgusting.
“Stewards and police were not reacting. They should have dragged the crowd back and dealt with them.”
From: BBC Sport