West Ham’s rough transition to the London Stadium has continued with the confirmation that two hundred fans face banning orders following skirmishes on Wednesday night.
Police made six arrests after skirmishes broke out towards the end of the stadium’s first London derby, when West Ham beat Chelsea 2-1 in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Police and stewards battled to maintain segregation behind the goal being defended by West Ham as coins, seats and other objects appeared to be thrown between rival supporters.
The Hammers and Chelsea condemned the unsavoury scenes which are now under investigation by the Football Association – and swift and decisive action is being taken after the CCTV footage was pored over on Thursday.
“West Ham United and London Stadium are finalising the identification of 200 individuals who will receive stadium bans having been involved in incidents of disorder during West Ham’s EFL cup victory over Chelsea,” a joint statement read.
“Rapid progress has been made in the investigation with extensive CCTV footage being shared with West Ham United, London Stadium partners, the Metropolitan Police and Chelsea Football Club.
“Banning notifications will be issued for offences ranging from the use of abusive and offensive language to missile throwing. In line with our zero tolerance policy, all those involved will receive a seasonal or lifetime ban depending on the severity of the offence.”
The Metropolitan Police announced three of the six arrested have been charged.
A spokesperson for stadium partners West Ham, E20 Stadium LLP and London Stadium 185 emphasised that the vast majority of supporters behaved “impeccably” and praised the response of the stewards to the disorder.
“A small number of individuals were intent on becoming involved in disorder and are being investigated, identified and banned from London Stadium as a matter of priority,” the spokesperson said.
“The response of our safety and security teams was measured, fast and effective and we commend our stewarding and response personnel who were called to deal with several incidents of challenging behaviour.”
West Ham are tenants of the stadium, managed by London Stadium 185 and owned by E20 Stadium LLP, a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council specifically set up to transform and manage the stadium.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch earlier called for prompt action against the troublemakers.
She said: “No-one wants to see a return to the dark days of the late ’70s and ’80s.
“It is completely right that strong action is taken and that anyone involved in last night’s trouble is banned for life.”
Mark Field, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary football group and Cities of London and Westminster Conservative MP, earlier said West Ham should play behind closed doors at the former Olympic Stadium if the violent scenes are repeated.
Field says preventing future disorder must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
He said in the London Evening Standard: “Within the next 14 days, the board of West Ham United FC should present a detailed plan to the FA and Premier League outlining what they are going to do about security.
“None of these problems were unforeseeable given the nature of the stadium and difficulties with policing large footballing crowds.
“There have been some clear failings and they now need to move with urgency to deliver a plan about segregation and broader public order issues.
“If there is a repeat of the violence, the next two or three home games for West Ham should be played behind closed doors.”
West Ham and Chelsea were swift to condemn the violence, while the FA announced its investigation on Thursday morning and League Cup organisers the English Football League joined the condemnation.
Representatives from the Football Supporters’ Federation, which represents fans in England and Wales, attended Wednesday night’s match after monitoring events at the stadium this season.
The FSF hopes to work with the clubs and authorities in any post-match debrief.
The Hammers have been occupants of the London Stadium for just nine competitive games after leaving Upton Park in May – and 23 fans had already been banned this season.
There had already been disturbances in the stands and outside the ground at some of West Ham’s previous home matches, and a series of measures were put in place ahead of a first London derby.
The capacity is capped at 57,000 and 45,957 were in attendance, along with a heavy police presence. Chelsea sold out their allocation of 5,182 tickets.
The clubs appealed to supporters for the tie to pass peacefully, but the entertaining match was overshadowed.
Chelsea beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge in the opening Premier League match of the season, with the return scheduled for early March.