October 28 – England’s Football Association has launched an official inquiry into the fan violence that marred Wednesday’s League Cup tie between West Ham United and Chelsea at the former’s new London Stadium.
In scenes that were a throwback to the dark days of English football hooliganism, bottles and coins were thrown and seats ripped up as stewards struggled to control rival fans.
There was also violence outside the stadium, the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics, where riot police intervened as supporters clashed on their way back to the nearby station.
West Ham condemned the violence but there are growing concerns that the stadium should never have been turned into a football ground thereafter. West Ham do not own the stadium, instead paying rent while the taxpayer foots the bill for running costs.
“West Ham United and London Stadium are finalising the identification of 200 individuals who will receive stadium bans having been involved in incidents of disorder during West Ham’s EFL cup victory over Chelsea,” West Ham said in a statement.
“Rapid progress has been made in the investigation with extensive CCTV footage being shared with West Ham United, London Stadium partners and the Metropolitan Police. “Banning notifications will be issued for offences ranging from the use of abusive and offensive language to missile throwing.”
Outbreaks of trouble have already been recorded at West Ham’s Premier League games against Watford, Sunderland and Middlesbrough this season and one parliamentarian says the club should be forced to play behind closed doors if the violence continues.
“None of these problems were unforeseeable given the nature of the stadium,” said Mark Field. “If there is a repeat of the violence, the next two or three home games for West Ham should be played behind closed doors.”
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