The West Ham players who jumped into the stands on Thursday night to protect their families from AZ Alkmaar thugs look likely to face an Uefa charge, with the governing body now under pressure over timing, the Daily Telegraph has revealed.
The silence from Uefa over the issue on Friday suggests that officials may allow the process to run past the date of the Europa Conference League final on June 7, when West Ham play Fiorentina at the Fortuna Arena in Prague. West Ham have also remained silent on Thursday’s troubles.
Declan Rice, Said Benrahma, Flynn Downes, Lucas Paucqueta and Michail Antonio could all face bans from Uefa competition unless they could persuade a commission these were exceptional circumstances. It is highly unlikely that Uefa would want the players to be banned for the final, but officials will also feel that they have to follow the process. AZ Alkmaar will be charged for the behaviour of their supporters.
Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary body handles all cases, independent from the Uefa executive. Those subject to a charge from Uefa inspectors can, if found guilty, go to an appeal and request a stay of execution.
AZ Alkmaar face a stadium shutout over the chaos as the club’s failure to provide adequate security for the players’ families draws mounting criticism.
Security inside stadiums is ultimately a host club’s responsibility rather than police’s. Security experts say AZ were “clearly” at fault.
“AZ should have made sure that they had a sort of a safe environment for the visiting fans to be in,” said Rowland Stone, a veteran former Metropolitan Police officer who now works with Premier League clubs.
West Ham’s first-team coach Kevin Nolan also urged Uefa to issue tough punishments, telling BBC 5 Live “I am disgusted that they would come and go for family, which is what they did”.