PFA chairman John Mousinho believes football needs to realise it has a growing problem with fan disorder, insisting the worrying trend of violence towards players needs to be stamped out quickly.
Mousinho told PA news agency that the punishment needs to be an adequate deterrent to fans: “I can’t see a reason for a fan to be allowed back into a football stadium if they come onto the pitch and assault a player.
“It’s a conscious choice. The term has to be large enough for people to decide they are not going to do it.
“From a players’ union view, when fans come on the pitch the players’ first instinct is to protect themselves. The guideline is for players to stay away but if someone is running at you, you don’t know if they are coming for a selfie or if they have a knife.”
Mousinho’s comments come following several incidents over recent weeks which have included players being hit with missiles at Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge, a teenage Leicester City supporter arrested for an alleged attack on Nottingham Forest’s celebrating players and Rotherham banning two fans for life after Accrington Stanley midfielder Harry Pell was struck while taking a penalty on February 5 in a League One game.
Mousinho added: “There are only so many police and stewards who can be at grounds. Fans have to take some responsibility.” But he also believes security needs to be reviewed.
“You have security guards who don’t pat you down properly. I’ve been to Premier League grounds where the metal detector has gone off and nobody really cares.
“That’s a real concern and it’s never really been flagged before because most of the time, if you get a pitch invader, there’s a jovial atmosphere around how many stewards they can evade.
“Now there’s an aspect of violence which is really worrying. It’s really shocking and concerning. Hopefully it’s an isolated few weeks in an isolated season but it’s something we need to get on top of very quickly.”