On February 23 this year, during the PSV Eindhoven vs Sevilla match, a fan invaded the pitch and attacked the goalkeeper Marko Dimitrovic. He was punished with three months in jail, a 40-year ban from PSV's stadium, and a two-year ban from the area around the venue.
The events in Eindhoven and their consequences
The fan's attack on the player took place during a Europa League match. PSV Eindhoven was playing against Sevilla at the Philips Stadion when the 20-year-old intruder got on the pitch. He pushed Dimitrovic and then tried to hit him. However, the goalkeeper proved to be a difficult sparring partner, so the PSV fan quickly found himself on the ground. Moments later, the man was escorted off the pitch by security staff. He is currently serving a three-month prison sentence. Unfortunately, the club can expect a financial penalty after UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him. PSV has indicated that it will attempt to seek monetary compensation from the fan.
But this is not the end of the troubles the Dutch pitch violence enthusiast will experience. Even if he resolves his conflict with the law and pays his obligations to the club, it will be a long time before he can be seen at the local stadium. This is because he has received a 40-year ban on entering the venue. In addition, he is not allowed to visit the area of the stadium for two years. The exact location of the second ban was not specified in PSV's public announcement. However, the club emphasised in its message that the penalty imposed on the fan could be increased by a fine from UEFA.
© Stephan Hoogerwaard
How to stop invaders?
Pitch invasions have a long story in the world of sports, with many incidents hitting the headlines and causing debates. Some see these incidents as moments of spontaneous and harmless fun, while others see them as serious breaches of safety protocols. However, the Philips Stadium incident proves clearly that such situations should not be ignored. The strong reactions of law enforcement, the club, and UEFA deserve praise. But are there any measures being taken to improve the safety of pitches and stadiums as a whole?
In response to growing concerns about pitch invasions, decision-makers and sports organisations around the world are implementing various solutions. We have already touched on this issue on our platform, for example on the occasion of the 2021/22 season conclusion and the associated pitch incidents in England. Besides, the role of technology in enhancing stadium security cannot be overlooked here. Significant changes in this regard are currently taking place in Mexico, which we have also reported on. Liga MX, the top league in Mexico, is introducing advanced identity verification technology called FAN ID. Interestingly, such a solution could have prevented the Philips Stadium pitch invasion. In fact, the attacker got there illegally, breaking a previously imposed ban on entering the venue and using another person's ticket.
© Kai0r, BS-MA-BS.net