Football violence: National police lead for football warns disorder will continue to rise at grounds

Wigan say they will work with the FA following crowd trouble during their FA Cup fifth-round tie

Violence and disorder at English football grounds may increase further unless clubs cover policing costs, the sport’s police chief has warned.

Mark Roberts, a deputy chief constable with South Yorkshire Police, says the game will not be a “highly marketable product” if incidents continue.

He was responding to the pitch invasion after Wigan’s FA Cup victory over Manchester City on Monday.

“Sadly, unless something changes, we’re likely to see more incidents,” he said.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the police lead for England and Wales said there was “a bad combination of clubs getting richer but cutting costs”.

Police figures show an upward trend for reported incidents including pitch encroachments, assaults on staff and the use of fireworks.

“We have fewer police officers in football grounds; clubs are cutting costs for policing and backfilling with stewards who don’t have the same authority as the police,” said Roberts.

“Just when football is about to secure another multi-billion-pound TV deal, there is a bad combination of clubs getting richer but cutting costs and police forces cannot subsidise football.”

The Premier League said it would like to “see the authorities take crowd-related incidents more seriously”.

Government figures