London Stadium safety and security plans under review after West Ham unrest

West Ham must wait to discover the full extent of the fallout from the ugly scenes which marred the 3-0 home defeat to Burnley, with safety and security plans at the London Stadium again under review.

The Hammers are facing an investigation by the Football Association after a series of pitch invasions and widespread supporter unrest, which saw co-owner David Sullivan struck by a coin towards the end of Saturday’s game.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has condemned the incidents as “disgraceful”, his spokesperson said on Monday morning, and called for West Ham to “carry out a thorough investigation, together with stakeholders, and take proper action against those supporters who misbehaved.”

London Stadium safety and security plans under review after West Ham unrest PLZ Soccer
Disturbances during West Ham’s match against Burnley are being investigated (Daniel Hambury/PA Images)

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said she could “completely understand” the feelings of the West Ham supporters wanting to demonstrate their views, but that “a pitch invasion is not the way to go about it”.

“I’m sure discussions will take place over what’s going to happen next, but they (West Ham) clearly need to take a firm view on the issue of the pitch invasion and I’m sure they will,” Crouch told Press Association Sport at the Checkatrade EFL Community Club of the Year awards in London.

Stewarding is overseen externally via the stadium operators E20 rather than the club, and has been a frequent problem for the Hammers since their move from Upton Park.

While Newham Council withdrew from the partnership which owns the London Stadium following the publication of an independent review in December 2017 and the mayor announcing he would take over full control of the stadium, it remains the certifying authority.

The latest incidents at the converted Olympic Stadium have raised fears that West Ham could be punished by having to play a future game behind closed doors.

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) will continue to observe the situation.

A spokesperson told Press Association Sport it was the Local Authority’s responsibility to make sure the conditions on the safety certificate for the ground are met, with any advice taken on board from their own discussions with the relevant SAG (Stadium Safety Advisory Group).

“We do have powers and can insert conditions in safety certificates if we felt the Local Authority was not taking the right course of action – but we have never had to do that in our entire history. We prefer to work via education and persuasion,” the spokesperson said.

London Stadium safety and security plans under review after West Ham unrest PLZ Soccer
Security and safety at the London Stadium is again under the spotlight (Daniel Hambury/PA)

The London Legacy Development Corporation, meanwhile, confirmed there will also be an “urgent and forensic review” into how events unfolded at the stadium.

Newham Council will wait on the outcome of discussions at the emergency SAG before deciding what further action is needed.

A statement read: “Newham Council is extremely concerned about the violent scenes witnessed during Saturday’s match, and utterly condemn the actions of the small minority of troublemakers responsible.

“In December last year Newham Council completely withdrew from its position as part owners of the London Stadium, but retains the role of certifying authority. In that capacity the council, along with the Sports Ground Safety Authority, is urgently reviewing the safety management plans and procedures and staffing of the stadium.

“The evidence gathered and the revised safety management plans will be discussed at an emergency Stadium Safety Advisory Group which includes the Metropolitan Police, E20 and West Ham United FC.

“The discussion at the SAG will assist the council before any decision is made regarding future sporting and other events.”

West Ham were not available for any further comment when contacted by the Press Association on Monday in light of recent developments.

However, the club had swiftly issued a statement on Saturday evening saying they were “committed to taking decisive and appropriate action”.

The Hammers squad are currently away on a warm-weather training camp in Miami, with the next scheduled home Premier League match against fellow relegation battlers Southampton on March 31.

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