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Monday, September 04, 2006

Stoke Fight FA Charges re Fan Attack Against QPR's Royce, last DECEMBER!


04 September 2006

Stoke City will fight an FA charge over an incident in which QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce was attacked on the pitch by a fan. City have requested a personal hearing to put their case to the FA after a supporter confronted Royce during a 2-1 defeat at the Britannia on December 3.

The FA eventually charged the club with failing to control their supporters in May - six months after the incident. No date has since been set for a hearing.

"Stoke City have denied the charge and have requested a personal hearing. A date has not yet been confirmed, but we expect it to happen soon," said an FA spokesman.

City's chief executive Tony Scholes feels the case has dragged on too long and has spoken out against the FA's decision to pursue the charge. He explained: "The FA investigated the matter immediately after the game. We carried out our investigation to ensure our procedures were operating as well as they should be.

"We helped the FA with all their inquiries about our procedures. The police were involved and they were happy with the procedures in place at the club.

"The FA finally decided to charge us in May and we are now some nine months after the incident. They believe we have a case to answer and were determined a charge would be brought, but we reject that and will be defending ourselves against it.

"Clearly the incident shouldn't have happened. The supporters who came on to the pitch have been dealt with in the manner we would expect for an incident of that nature. But in terms of whether our procedures are operating effectively, we say they are."

If the FA upholds the charge its disciplinary committee may hit the Potters with a fine.

But an FA spokesman has previously said the club are unlikely to be punished with having to play behind closed doors.

QPR faced the same charge earlier this year over the incident. The West London club were fined £5,000 and warned as to their future conduct.

A 19-year-old man was told to spend 164 days in custody after admitting he punched Royce and unlawfully entered the field of play.


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