Arsenal charged over pitch invader

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: The Arsenal crest is seen ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on May 11, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Football Association (FA) have charged Arsenal after a supporter came on to the pitch during Sunday’s Premier League match with Manchester United.

A man named Gary Cooper, 30, from Surrey ran out on to the pitch at the Emirates Stadium during the second-half to confront United defender Chris Smalling.

Cooper shoved the England international before then running over to the Arsenal team as they celebrated Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s 69th-minute penalty to put the Gunners 2-0 up.

Since then, Cooper has been released on bail and will be expected to attend a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on March 26.

In an interview on Tuesday, the cousin of British Boxing star Tyson Fury apologised for his actions.

“I am just so ashamed and have let myself and my family down. What happened was out of character. I am still in shock and feel awful,” Cooper told the Daily Mail.

“I got caught up in the emotion of the game and made a foolish mistake to run on to the pitch.

“I had no intention of approaching Chris Smalling. He happened to be there as I ran to congratulate the Arsenal players.

“I am deeply ashamed of my actions and would never do anything to harm any of the players.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 16: England manager Gareth Southgate attends a press conference to announce the England squad for the UEFA Nations League matches at Wembley Stadium on May 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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But Arsenal have been punished as well for their being unable to contain Cooper by the FA, who have given the club until next Friday to respond to their charges.

“It is alleged the club failed to ensure that its spectator[s] conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from encroaching onto the pitch during the Premier League fixture against Manchester United on Sunday,” read an FA statement.

Meanwhile, Unai Emery’s side will be fully focused on tonight’s second leg against Rennes in the Europa League at the Emirates.

Arsenal need to overturn a two-goal deficit after losing the first-leg 3-1 at France.


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