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Patrick Vieira not facing criminal charges for kick at Everton pitch invader

THE GUARDIAN

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Patrick Vieira ahead of Crystal Palace’s match at Everton earlier this month.

Patrick Vieira will not face any criminal charges after Merseyside police completed their investigation into the pitch invasion that followed Everton’s victory against Crystal Palace last week.

The Palace manager was seen aiming a kick at an Everton supporter who had run on to the Goodison Park pitch last Thursday after the home side beat Palace to secure their Premier League place for next season. While video footage showed Vieira lashing out, it also showed the pitch invader persistently goading the former France international while filming the events on his phone.

Merseyside police said on Monday morning that they had “concluded enquiries into an altercation on the pitch” following the inspection of CCTV footage and interviews conducted with witnesses. “Officers have spoken to both men involved,” the police said, “and the opportunity to make a formal complaint or support a prosecution was declined.”

The incident is also the subject of an investigation by the Football Association which has yet to report its findings. Vieira has indicated he would willingly help with any inquiries but said that the issue of pitch invasions throughout this season is a bigger problem.

“I will participate with the FA and talk about the incident and give my opinion and my view,” Vieira said after Palace’s final-day victory against Manchester United. “It is not about just that incident. It is about all the incidents and it happened too often in the last couple of weeks. We need to reflect on that and make a decision so players, staff and fans can be safe going to watch football matches.

“I think there is a big issue on the FA and Premier League’s plate to deal with. They need the support and the club and the players to get involved. Everybody has to take responsibility and see what is the best way for those things not to happen.”

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