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Police launch investigation after footballer assaulted on pitch

Police launch investigation after footballer assaulted on pitch

Police have launched an investigation after a footballer was allegedly assaulted on the pitch at the end of his team’s match in Nottingham last night.

Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield United in their Championship play-off semi-final match via a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the City Ground, but as thousands of people spilled onto the pitch to celebrate, one fan appeared to charge into Billy Sharp, knocking him to the ground. Sharp’s manager, Paul Heckingbottom, later reported that the player was “shook up and bleeding”.

Nottinghamshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin said: “Enquiries are under way to identify the offender and we will be looking to make an arrest as soon as possible. We have seen the footage, as many others will have who watched the televised match, and we are appealing for anyone who knows who the offender is to please get in contact with us as soon as possible.

“We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs which are supporting us with our investigation which will continue through the night. Our extensive enquiries remain ongoing. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101.”

A Nottingham Forest club statement read: “Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight’s match at the City Ground. The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest. The club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club.”

Forest clinched their place in the Championship play-off final at Wembley despite losing 2-1 to Blades last night. That made the score 3-3 after extra-time, forcing a penalty shoot-out that Forest won 3-2 to spark the wild scenes of celebration.

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