Port Vale charged by FA after pitch invader chased referee following dramatic Portsmouth win

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One of Portsmouth's League One opponents have been charged by the FA after a fan ran onto the pitch to confront the referee during a match against Pompey.

Port Vale have been charged with misconduct in relation to crowd control, after a pitch invader chased the referee at the end of Portsmouth's dramatic 1-0 victory at Vale Park on January 27. The referee, Craig Hicks, awarded a penalty to Pompey in the 88th minute which Colby Bishop duly converted.

On the final whistle, the supporter chased Hicks, who ran away from him towards the tunnel, before the individual was restrained by members of Port Vale staff. The Stoke-on-Trent based club condemned the supporters actions after the game but they have not avoided a charge.

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An FA statement said: "It is alleged that the club failed to ensure spectators and/or supporters (and anyone purporting to be supporters) conduct themselves in an orderly fashion; don’t behave in an improper, threatening or provocative way, or commit any form of pitch incursion." The FA said that Port Vale have up until Friday, February 23, to respond.

A Port Vale fan ran on to the pitch to chase Referee Craig Hicks (not pictured) during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture: Jess Hornby/PA Wire.A Port Vale fan ran on to the pitch to chase Referee Craig Hicks (not pictured) during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture: Jess Hornby/PA Wire.
A Port Vale fan ran on to the pitch to chase Referee Craig Hicks (not pictured) during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture: Jess Hornby/PA Wire. | PA

The EFL and referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) issued a joint statement on the day of the incident which read: “We are appalled by the incident in today’s League One fixture between Port Vale and Portsmouth which saw referee Craig Hicks chased off the field of play and condemn the mindless actions of the individual involved.

“Match officials should never feel threatened for their safety when playing a pivotal role in the staging of games in our competitions. We will provide our full support to Craig and his team alongside Port Vale and the relevant authorities as they seek to bring this individual to justice.”

Staffordshire Police confirmed on January 28 that a 62-year-old man from Stoke-on-Trent, Ted Piolunowicz, had been charged with going onto the playing area at a football match and using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear/violence. He was given conditional bail and will appear in court on March 7.