Somerset Football Association has completed its investigation into an incident that caused a Burnham United home fixture to be abandoned in October.
The game on Saturday October 10th in the Weston and District League Division 3 took place between Burnham United A and Clevedon United KV Reserves until the 89th minute when play was halted.
The Clevedon club’s Twitter account claimed that home supporters had “run on the pitch and attacked our young player, pinning him to the ground and attacking him.”
Burnham United decided not to comment at the time, but stated on social media: “We are aware of the incident that happened. We are cooperating fully with the Somerset FA whilst they fully investigate the incident. As a club we will not be commenting further until the Somerset FA have concluded their investigation.”
Somerset FA issued a statement on Tuesday (November 17th) in which it says: “Following the abandonment of a match between Burnham United and Clevedon United on October 10, 2020, Somerset FA quickly and thoroughly investigated incidents, collecting evidence from both clubs and the match official. As a result, charges were issued in line with FA Discipline regulations.”
“Burnham United were charged under FA Rule E20 in that they failed to ensure their spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. Two players of Clevedon United KV Reserves were charged under FA Rule E3 of improper conduct (including violent conduct and threatening and/or abusive language/behaviour).”
“This case was heard on November 4th 2020 by a Somerset FA Discipline Commission and three charges were found proven and were dealt with in-line with FA Sanction Guidelines, and participants were reminded of their right of appeal to The FA.”
“The negative impacts of this case were exacerbated by widespread discussions on social media, based on allegations that were unsubstantiated.”
“This case was investigated and dealt with in accordance with FA Procedures and Regulations; comments on Social Media benefited neither party.”
“We would like to remind all participants of their responsibility to act in accordance with FA Regulations at all times, including on social media, and refrain from offensive, abusive and/or threatening conduct.”
Burnham United has also issued a statement here in which it says: “We are now in a position after conclusion of the case brought by the County FA to make comment on the events that were reported via social media and the local media with regards the match involving Burnham United A and Clevedon United KV Reserves, in which it was stated that a Clevedon United KV Reserve player was ‘pinned down and assaulted’, causing the match to be abandoned.”
“As a club Burnham United AFC have been charged with and pleaded guilty to the charge of failure to control our supporters. We have accepted the charge because three of our supporters entered the field of play.”
“At no point was there any evidence that a player was ‘pinned down and assaulted’ as reported by Clevedon on their Twitter page, which caused the story to be picked up by the local media as well.”
“As a club we were extremely fortunate that our CCTV managed to capture the entire incident, and this also clarified that only three supporters entered the field of play. The Somerset FA have charged two opposition players with violent conduct, and they have been found guilty of the charge.”
“The supporters that entered the field of play did so as they believed that a teenage Burnham United player was in physical danger from the violent reaction of an opposition player, who was fouled.”
“However good-natured their intentions were, they should not have entered the field of play, and they have apologised to the club for their actions.”
“In addition to the sanction given by the County FA, Burnham United have also sanctioned the individuals; as a club we will not tolerate this type of behaviour, no matter what the provocation.”
The fixture has since been recorded as a 3-1 victory for Burnham United A.
The club statement continues: “Burnham United AFC have had to endure a lot of abuse and damnation of the club on social media, because of a tweet that was posted in relation to this matter.”
“This tweet and the comments have had a detrimental impact on the club’s standing in the local area, as well as in the larger grassroots footballing community.”
“We are fortunate that our main club sponsor, Fusion, has continued to back the club and we are extremely grateful for their ongoing and invaluable support.”
“The club has lost a sponsor over the portrayal of this incident, and this impact will be felt financially, in an already difficult time for grassroots football.”
In reply to that statement, Clevedon United tweeted: “Strangely your CCTV never picked up your supporters entering the field of play. Weird that… spraying a can of Fosters. Classy. There won’t be any formal apology from Clevedon Utd. Hiding behind a club statement is embarrassing your club even more.” A second tweet adds: “How about you release the full match CCTV and let the public make their own mind up, not just snippets that you control?”