Herts FA and police probe cup final fracas among parents

A police in investigation is underway after a fight started between parents during a youth cup final. The referee had to call a halt to the County under-16s cup final at the County Ground in Baldock Road, Letchworth GC, on Sunday afternoon between Harves

A police in investigation is underway after a fight started between parents during a youth cup final.

The referee had to call a halt to the County under-16s cup final at the County Ground in Baldock Road, Letchworth GC, on Sunday afternoon between Harvesters of St Albans and Wormley FC of Broxbourne after fighting broke out in the stand.

Play was suspended for 20 minutes and the police called when trouble erupted after Harvesters had scored their second goal in a 3-1 victory.

It has been alleged that a woman threw a glass of beer over a father of one of the Harvesters players and his son jumped the barrier at the side of the pitch after seeing his father being involved in a fight with three men.

The player, who is from St Albans, was questioned by police and an adult Wormley supporter, was also spoken to by officers. Both were released without being charged with any offence while inquiries continue

Harvesters' chairman Steve Chittenden blamed Wormley parents and adult supporters of having been drinking before they arrived and continued drinking at the ground's bars throughout the afternoon.

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"What happened was disgraceful," said Mr Chittenden, himself a highly respected referee.

"I understand the Wormley guys and ladies had been drinking before the game and had been drinking in the bar. Having a bar open serving alcohol at a youth game is a disgrace.

"From what I have been told our sub was warming up when he got this beer thrown over him. Trouble then broke out in the stands where his father was allegedly being assaulted and the player jumped the barrier and just went to help a parent.

"This was just madness to happen at a major youth football event and from what I understand it was all caused by alcohol. During the punch up the game was suspended for 20 minutes."

But the Wormley version of events is different. Dave Lancaster, secretary of Wormley under-16s, said: "I was across the other side of the pitch but from what people have told me trouble started when words were exchange between somebody in the stand and a woman who was with our supporters.

"She got fed up with the taunting and threw beer over him and there was an incident.

"We went to the pub for 20 minutes before getting a coach to the match and people did have a drink at the game but nobody was drunk.

"It was quite upsetting what happened and hopefully an inquiry will find out what really happened and who is to blame."

Nick Perchard, chief executive of The Herts FA said: "Police have requested CCTV footage from us to help their investigation. The bars were immediately shut after the incident. We will carry out our own inquiry after the police have finished theirs to see whether any disciplinary action should be taken against either club.

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