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Jail and Football Banning Order for play-off player assault

|News, Violent crime

A Nottingham Forest fan has been jailed and given a ten-year football banning order for headbutting an opposition player during a post-match pitch invasion.

Robert Biggs, 30, from Ilkeston, joined other supporters invading the pitch after Nottingham Forest won their Championship play-off semi-final against Sheffield United after a penalty shoot-out. Biggs deliberately charged at Sheffield United player Billy Sharp, headbutting him and knocking him to the ground.

Biggs attended a police station the following day and admitted he was responsible for the attack. Following consultation between the police and CPS, the CPS authorised charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and going onto the playing area at a football match the same evening. He appeared on remand today at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment and given a ten-year Football Banning Order.

Marianne Connally from the CPS said: “This was an extremely serious and unprovoked assault with a professional footballer standing at the side of the pitch left requiring stitches.

“Biggs has soured what should have been an incredible moment for the club and its fans. As a result of his actions, he won’t be able to enjoy seeing his club compete in the Premier League should Forest win the Championship play-off final.

“The CPS has been working alongside the police to ensure that this unacceptable act of violence has been dealt with quickly and decisively. Sporting events are occasions for the whole community to enjoy. Football banning orders are an important way to ensure those who cross the line at matches do not have the opportunity to put others at risk.”

The CPS is also currently working with the football clubs, player bodies and organisations, like the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association to explain what evidence is required to charge to help clubs and the leagues protect their players by ensuring we have all the evidence we need to build the strongest case possible.

Douglas Mackay of the CPS said: “Over recent years and months there has been a significant rise in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels. At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national sport inclusive, safe to watch and play in. There is no place for violent criminal acts in football, and incidents such as these has a significant impact on victims.”

Notes to editors

  • Marianne Connally is a District Crown Prosecutor and lead for football offences at CPS East Midlands
  • Douglas Mackay is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands and CPS Lead Prosecutor for Sports
  • Robert Biggs has been sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment, ordered to pay compensation - £500, surcharge - £128, and costs -£85
  • The charge of going onto the playing area at a football match was withdrawn during the hearing as the charge of ABH covered the level of criminality.

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