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  • Apr 16, 2014
  • Updated: 4:19pm
SportSoccer

FA's Bernstein calls for life bans for violent soccer fans

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 2:31am

English Football Association chairman David Bernstein wants fans who "hijack" matches with bad behaviour to be handed life bans.

The FA chief spoke in the aftermath of Sunday's heated Manchester derby which saw United defender Rio Ferdinand struck by a coin thrown from the crowd and nine others charged by police in connection with the match.

Images of Ferdinand's bloodied face cut-open just above the eyebrow and City keeper Joe Hart holding back a fan who had invaded the pitch following Robin van Persie's stoppage-time winner to confront Ferdinand have been published around the globe tarnishing what was a thrilling encounter.

"I think it's disturbing that we are seeing a recurrence of these sorts of incidents. We've had some racial abuse issues ... we've had things being thrown at players. They are unacceptable and they have to be dealt with severely," Bernstein said.

"In my mind it's for the FA, it's for the whole game of football and for the authorities to work together to deal with this in the most severe manner."

He added that these people, if and when they were caught, needed to be banned for life.

Bernstein also said "copycat" behaviour had a role to play in crowd trouble. "It's a difficult social problem. You have something happen and other people tend to copy it. It's really important matters are bought to a head and people understand there is no room for this in football at all and we will do everything we can within the FA."

On the incident involving Ferdinand, Bernstein added: "Totally unacceptable and deplorable to see those incidents, obviously Rio Ferdinand with blood on his face is absolutely terrible."

City apologised to the centre back, who attempted to make light of the incident on Twitter.

"Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p ... could have at least been a £1 coin!," he said.

Greater Manchester Police say they are still working with the Premier League champions to identify who threw the coin.

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