An investigation opened after the altercation between Patrick Vieira and an opposing supporter

Several videos circulating on social media show the former glory of the France team, coach of Crystal Palace, heading off the pitch in chaos, amid Toffees supporters celebrating the 3-2 victory at home ( and the maintenance in the Premier League) of their team, yet trailing 2-0 at the break.

Taken to task by a young man, Vieira ends up turning around and kicking him with a brush, which sends him to the ground, before being jostled by a few other fans, then accompanied to the exit of the field.

In a press release, the Merseyside police (north-west of England) indicated that they had not received any « formal complaint » but « to investigate an altercation which took place on the ground at Goodison Park following the Everton-Crystal Palace match on Thursday ».

« We are working with Everton FC to collect all available CCTV footage and we are talking to witnesses »she added.

After this defeat, Crystal Palace is 13th in the Premier League. Everton, thanks to their victory, moved up to 16th with 39 points, ensuring they remain in the Premier League next season.

According to the agency Press Associationthe English Football Association (FA) will also investigate the incident, which Vieira declined to comment on.

In January 1995, Eric Cantona had been expelled for eight months and sentenced to 120 hours of community service for an incomparably more violent gesture of kung fu: right foot and spikes in the face then punched in the shirt of Manchester United to a Crystal Palace supporter, Matthew Simmons, who insulted him from the edge of the stand.

This time, it is rather the consternation concerning the abuses aimed at the players which dominates in the reactions.

the Sun lamented « awful scenes »dissecting the incident thanks to the images filmed by the phone of the supporter hit by Vieira: we hear the young man insulting the coach before giving him the finger of honor.

the Mirror evokes « shameful images (which) reveal the extent of the aggression » of which the ex-Blue would have been the victim.

On Skycommentator Dion Dublin also defended Vieira: « We can’t jostle the coaches, the players, touch the players and yell in their faces ». « We have to stop letting fans enter the field, it’s too dangerous »said the former England international.

« Possible tragedy »

Beyond the single case of Vieira, the Daily Mail denounced « a shameful new evening for football »noting the incidents that have occurred after several matches in recent days.

The most serious took place on Tuesday night when a Nottigham Forest supporter headbutted Sheffield United player Billy Sharp on the pitch, earning him a 24-week prison sentence.

« The scenes at Nottingham Forest were shocking, as they were at Everton. I think we are heading into dangerous territory, where something could happen during a match and have terrible consequences. »worried Newcastle coach Eddie Howe.

The problem, he says, « it’s the aggression against the adversary, the regroupings around one or two people »: « We must act quickly to avoid a possible tragedy ».

The English Football League (EFL), which manages rights for Divisions 2-4 of English football, promised this week to consider how to deal with crowd movements, for example reducing stadium capacities if necessary.

Frank Lampard, the Everton coach, himself threw his support behind Vieira saying « to feel sorry for Patrick » and describing a situation « not easy ».

« If it’s done the right way, I’m fine with the fans staying on the pitch and enjoying it, » however, underlined the ex-Chelsea midfielder. According to him, « As long as everyone is doing well and we don’t see scenes like the other night, let them have their moment. » « It’s the very essence of football »he added.

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