Footballers charged with assault by Nottinghamshire Police after clashes with fans during pitch invasion at Forest play-off game

Two Sheffield United footballers have been summoned to appear before Nottingham magistrates after being charged with common assault by Nottinghamshire Police.

By John Smith
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 7:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 7:46 pm

The charges relate to incidents at the end of EFL Championship play-off semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United at the City Ground last month when fans invaded the pitch following Forest’s win on penalties.

During this, Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was assaulted by a Forest fan as he stood at the side of the pitch.

His attacker, Robert Biggs, subsequently pleaded guilty to assault and was jailed for 24 weeks.

The alleged incidents occurred during the pitch invasion at the end of Nottingham Forest's play-off tie with Sheffield United at City Ground on May 17. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

In the days following the match, a video circulated on social media appeared to show some Sheffield United players becoming involved in an altercation with a Nottingham Forest supporter who had ran on from the stands.

United revealed this week that Brewster and McBurnie had been charged by Nottinghamshire Police over the incident.

And the police have now confirmed that the pair have been charged with common assault.

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In a statement, the police said: “Two men have been informed that summonses have been issued following an incident at the end of a football match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Rhian Brewster, aged 22, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, and Oli McBurnie, aged 26, of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, are to be charged with common assault in relation to disorder at the conclusion of a game at the City Ground on May 17, 2022.

“Both men are due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on July 28, 2022.”

In a statement, Sheffield United said: “Sheffield United Football Club is disappointed to learn that Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie have been charged following the incidents that took place at the EFL Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest last month.

“Both players voluntarily engaged in interviews with Nottinghamshire Police in the aftermath of the fixture which saw their team-mate, Billy Sharp, the victim of assault in the chaos which followed the final whistle.

"Brewster and McBurnie strenuously deny the charges brought against them and (Sheffield United) manager Paul Heckingbottom, who wrote letters to the League Managers’ Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the EFL and FA following a number of pitch invasions last month, is continuing discussions with key stakeholders in a bid to better protect players and staff in their place of work.”