Millwall fury at FA over charges for riot at West Ham Carling Cup clash

Millwall have reacted with ‘shock and disappointment’ to the Football Association’s decision to hit them with three disciplinary charges for their alleged part in the shameful riot which marred last month’s Carling Cup tie at West Ham.

Fans of both sides fought pitched battles outside Upton Park in the run-up to the game
before violence erupted inside the ground, culminating in three pitch invasions, missile throwing and confrontations with police and security staff.

There were also accusations from West Ham striker Carlton Cole and Millwall’s Jason Price that they were subjected to racist abuse.

West Ham striker Carlton Cole is mobbed by three supporters

Under wraps: West Ham striker Carlton Cole is mobbed by three supporters

But Millwall are furious that they face charges, along with West Ham, over the violence,
missile-throwing and alleged racism.

Both clubs could be punished by being forced to play matches behind closed doors, though hefty fines appear to be a more likely sanction. 

The League One club insist they were powerless to influence events inside another
club’s stadium.

They said: ‘Millwall are shocked and disappointed charges have been issued against us in respect of events that took place at West Ham.

‘We maintain we did everything in our power with regard to our ticketing arrangements for this game. We expressed our concerns in advance about ticket allocations and arrangements in general.

‘It was widely acknowledged none of our supporters came on to the pitch, and indeed the behaviour and forbearance of our fans brought praise.

‘Our question for the FA is what can Millwall do to control individuals’ actions once inside our opponents’ stadium?’

A bloodied fan is led away by police

The night of shame: A bloodied fan is led away by police

West Ham face an additional charge of failing to ensure their supporters did not enter the field of play after three separate pitch invasions during the game. But even they were not taking the FA’s response lying down despite conceding a minority of their fans had behaved ‘appallingly’.

A West Ham spokesman said: ‘The club followed the strict advice of the police and relevant authorities at every stage of the planning process.

‘That full co-operation continued on the night with the club working closely with police on a carefully set-out plan that was initiated and approved by the independent safety advisory group. We do acknowledge the appalling behaviour of a minority of fans inside the stadium and, with the police, will continue to take strong and appropriate action against anyone found responsible.’

Collared: A pitch invader is grabbed by a security guard

Collared: A pitch invader is grabbed by a security guard

If both clubs are found guilty of all charges then the FA could force them to play matches behind closed doors.

However, Sportsmail understands that despite the seriousness of the night’s shocking events during which a supporter was taken to hospital after suffering stab wounds prior to kick-off, hefty fines are the punishment the two clubs are likely to suffer.

The clubs have 11 days to respond to the charges before disciplinary hearings take place.

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