Sheffield United

Sheffield United

Premier League • England

Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie charged after police probe into Sheff Utd play-off defeat

Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster warming up before the Premier League match at King Power Stadium

Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie have been charged after a police investigation into incidents during Sheffield United’s Championship play-off semi-final loss to Nottingham Forest.

The Blades said they were “disappointed” to learn the duo face criminal action following an inquiry by Nottinghamshire Police.

The allegations relate to the club’s play-off semi-final second leg at the City Ground on May 17.

Home fans then invaded the pitch in celebration, during which Blades skipper Billy Sharp was assaulted. A man was jailed for 24 weeks after pleading guilty to assaulting Sharp.

McBurnie was videoed allegedly stamping on a fan on the ground after the second leg last month.

Forest, who went on to earn promotion to the Premier League, won 3-2 on penalties after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.

A Sheff Utd statement on Thursday 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.

Heckingbottom wants tougher measures on crowd disorder

“Brewster and McBurnie strenuously deny the charges brought against them. And football 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 – including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira – is continuing discussions with key stakeholders in a bid to better protect players and staff in their place of work.”

Blades boss Heckingbottom called on the game’s authorities to get tougher on crowd disorder.

“You’re in a place of work and you’re getting attacked. It can’t happen and it wouldn’t happen anywhere else,” he said.

“You look at the NHS, things like that, there’s absolutely zero tolerance for any sort of physical intimidation anyway.

“We can’t accept it, we can’t just say ‘yeah, that happens in football’. However strong we need to be to make sure it doesn’t happen again, we need to be strong.”