West Ham preparing another case for the defence
WEST HAM are currently reviewing the FA charges against them following the controversial Carling Cup second-round clash against Millwall, but are likely to fight their corner to avoid possible ground closure, writes KIRK BLOWS.. It has been speculated t
WEST HAM are currently "reviewing" the FA charges against them following the controversial Carling Cup second-round clash against Millwall, but are likely to fight their corner to avoid possible ground closure, writes KIRK BLOWS..
It has been speculated that the Hammers could be forced to play at least one game behind closed doors, after being charged with four counts of failing to control their fans at Upton Park on August 25.
The charges related to the "violent, threatening, obscene and provocative behaviour" and "racist behaviour" of fans as well as missile throwing and supporters entering the field of play.
Millwall, meanwhile, have been hit with three charges after seats were damaged in the visiting part of the ground and hurled on to the pitch, while Hammers striker Carlton Cole was allegedly racially abused.
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Both clubs have until October 11 to respond to the charges and are set to defend themselves by insisting they worked closely with the authorities before the game to reduce the threat of disorder.
A West Ham United spokes-man said: "We are reviewing the FA charges and will respond accordingly.
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"In advance of the Millwall match, the club followed the strict advice of the police and relevant authorities at every stage of the planning process.
"That full co-operation continued on the night, with the club working closely with police on a carefully set-out plan that was initiated and approved by the independent safety advisory group.
"We do acknowledge the appalling behaviour of a minority of spectators inside the stadium and, in conjunction with the police, will continue to take strong and appropriate action against anyone found responsible."
The game, which West Ham won 3-1 after extra-time, was twice interrupted when fans ran on to the pitch after goals were scored, while a third invasion took place after the final whistle.
Millwall appear to be denying any responsibility for their fans and insist they are "shocked and disappointed" that charges have been made against them.
A Lions statement added: "Our question for the FA is: What can Millwall do to control individuals' actions once inside our opponents' stadium?