Portsmouth Football Club say players 'crossed a line' over incident outside Astoria in Guildhall Walk

POMPEY has said players involved in an incident where police were called outside a nightclub ‘fell below’ their expected standards.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:07 pm

The Blues made the statement after The News revealed staff at Astoria in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, said they refused entry to a group of players and staff as the venue was at its reduced Covid capacity.

It came just after the club’s play-off ending defeat to Accrington Stanley on Sunday.

Astoria has now banned the players involved – with the footballers also barred from other venues, according to the nightclub.

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The Astoria night club in Portsmouth. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180443-1)

A Pompey spokesman said: ‘While footballers are entitled to enjoy themselves in their spare time, there are acceptable boundaries and it is clear, in this instance, that a line was crossed.

‘They fell below the standards expected of them as representatives of Portsmouth Football Club.

‘We have started an internal process with the players who were involved and they will be dealt with appropriately.’

As reported, Astoria management said there was ‘attitude’ directed at their staff at the group not being allowed in.

Moments later a 21-year-old University of Portsmouth student, who spoke with the group, fell unconscious. He suffered a ‘suspected concussion,’ police said.

Circumstances of the incident are unclear but police said no assault allegation has been made.

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The Pompey Supporters’ Trust has said any action following an internal investigation should be made public.

A statement said: ‘We welcome and respect PFC’s internal investigation, and we urge the club to make its findings public along with subsequent actions.

‘The Pompey Supporters’ Trust is deeply disappointed by the involvement of Pompey players in these circumstances.

‘This incident risks damaging the bond between the football club and the community.

‘Playing for our football club and representing the city and its people comes with a responsibility to exemplify the best of us and to make us proud of our team.

‘Please remember who you represent.’

Officers and paramedics attended the Sunday night incident – just hours after the Blues ended the season at Fratton Park with a 1-0 loss – and he was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The student, who was spoken with by police yesterday, has not made an assault complaint. No arrests have been made over the incident.

The Pompey spokesman added: ‘During the course of (Monday), Portsmouth Football Club were made aware of an incident that occurred outside Astoria nightclub on Sunday evening.

‘After liaising with the police and speaking to players who were present, we now have an understanding of what happened.’

Club bosses and new manager Danny Cowley are understood to be frustrated over the incident which was reported at 11.17pm.

An Astoria management spokesman said that a party of people were refused entry.

He added: ‘A group of males... were refused entry to the premises. We were at capacity.

‘They hung around the door asking for entry and obviously we couldn't allow them in.’

He added: ‘(The incident with the student) was not in the premises.

‘We refused them entry and the incident happened out in the street.’

He confirmed the nightclub is working with Hampshire Constabulary.

A police statement issued yesterday said: ‘We were called at 11.17pm on Sunday, May 9 to Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth where a 21 year-old man was being treated for a suspected concussion.

‘Officers spoke to a number of people in the area, but an assault complaint has not been received at the current time.

‘We will be speaking to the man who was treated again to establish what happened.'

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘Hampshire Police contacted us at 11.22pm to report that they had found a man unconscious on Guildhall Walk.

‘We sent an ambulance crew to the scene and took the patient to the QA Hospital for further assessment.’

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