Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish was the victim of an attack from a pitch invader at St Andrew’s and Birmingham City have apologised.
Birmingham City have issued an apology to Jack Grealish and confirmed the man who attacked the Aston Villa midfielder will be banned from St Andrew’s for life.
The Villa captain was punched from behind by a man who encroached onto the field in the early stages of Sunday’s derby clash.
Grealish appeared to be struck on the neck and jaw but showed few ill effects as he later went on to score the winner.
With the EFL having already condemned the incident while the match was still ongoing, Birmingham also put out a strong statement at the end of the Championship fixture.
It read: “Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this – there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”
West Midlands Police tweeted to confirm that a man had been arrested following the incident while Villa also outlined their disgust at events.
CLUB STATEMENT: Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) March 10, 2019
“A red line has been crossed by this cowardly on-field assault on a player, which is unprecedented in English football.
“We trust the perpetrator will feel the full force of the law and the authorities investigate the circumstances surrounding today’s deplorable incident.
“Local rivalries are part of the fabric of the game however, as we are sure our friends at Birmingham City would agree, to have a player’s personal safety placed under such jeopardy is a serious cause for concern for the entire football community.”
The Football Association spokesperson Twitter account tweeted: “We strongly condemn the incident in the match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa which saw a person enter the pitch and assault a player.
“It is a criminal offence to enter the field of play and we will be working with the police, the relevant authorities and the club to ensure the appropriate action is taken.”