Port Vale fan who ran onto pitch and chased referee during Portsmouth game banned indefinitely as man charged

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A football supporter who ran onto the pitch and tried to get his hands on the referee during a Portsmouth match has been slapped with an indefinite ban.

The disgruntled fan entered the field of play during Pompey's 1-0 victory over Port Vale at Vale Park on Saturday (January 27). He attempted to confront referee Craig Hicks after he awarded a penalty for the Blues after Valiants midfielder Conor Grant was adjudged to have fouled Abu Kamara.

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

Colby Bishop converted the spot-kick and tensions proceeded to boil over. The pitch invader chased Mr Hicks across the field, with the official proceeding to hide in the Portsmouth dugout while stewards apprehended him. Both clubs have condemned the incident.

Referee Craig Hicks runs off the pitch after being chased by a Port Vale fan during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture date: Saturday January 27. Picture: jess Horny/PA WireReferee Craig Hicks runs off the pitch after being chased by a Port Vale fan during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture date: Saturday January 27. Picture: jess Horny/PA Wire
Referee Craig Hicks runs off the pitch after being chased by a Port Vale fan during the Sky Bet League One match at Vale Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture date: Saturday January 27. Picture: jess Horny/PA Wire | Jess Hornby/PA Wire

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Port Vale said in a statement today: "Port Vale Football Club can confirm that the individual who entered the field of play against Portsmouth FC on Saturday 27th January has been banned indefinitely from the club, pending the outcome of the investigation by Staffordshire Police. The club strongly condemns the actions of the individual and would like to remind supporters that entering the field of play at any point is a criminal offence and will be dealt with, with a zero-tolerance approach.

"We will continue to work closely with the EFL, FA and Staffordshire Police throughout the remainder of the investigation.” A man from Stoke-on-Trent has been charged by police since the incident took place. Ted Piolunowicz, 62, has been charged with going on to the playing area at a football match and using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear or violence.

Staffordshire Police said Piolunowicz has been granted conditional bail, and will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on March 7.