Krylia Sovetov
3:30 PM UTC
Game Details
Game Details
 By PA Sport

UEFA investigating Everton following fan punch during Europa League melee

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Everton for "aggressions by supporters against players" after a fan holding a child appeared to aim a punch at a Lyon player during a second-half melee at Goodison Park.

Merseyside Police have confirmed "officers are investigating following a disturbance on the pitch" adding that "detectives will be reviewing footage and speaking to witnesses to establish what, if any, offences have been committed."

Everton were also quick to act, saying in an official statement that "club officials have reviewed the footage" and  "have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police."

Defender Ashley Williams' push on visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes sparked a heated confrontation between several Everton and Lyon players, which continued off the pitch in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End.

While players continued to push each other, one Everton supporter, holding a child, appeared to push Lopes' head and seemed to aim a punch in the direction of both the keeper and defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

The Lyon players shouted in his direction before things eventually cooled down.

Referee Rob van de Ven produced a yellow card for Williams and Lyon striker Bertrand Traore, with the former perhaps fortunate to escape further punishment having raised his hand in Lucas Tousart's face.

Williams headed an equaliser for Everton soon afterwards, but Traore then consigned them to a 2-1 defeat.

The Wales international played down the incident after the game.

"It's what happens, it's football. It is what it is," he told BT Sport 2. "It's high emotions. We want to win the game, they want to win the game and stuff happens. That was just one of those times."

Lopes told reporters: "Not much happened, it was nothing.

"More than anything, it woke up the fans because they had been sleeping until then. It woke them up, they love that. It spurred them on more than anything.

"I don't think it's part of the atmosphere in England that a fan hits an opposing player, but you deal with that, it's just the way it is."

Traore added: "In heated moments like the fight we have to help each other, stay as a team. That's what I tried to do.

"There's a supporter who hit Anthony Lopes. I don't think that's normal. I defended him."

A heated confrontation ignited between Everton and Lyon players.

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll is certain Williams and Everton will not have heard the last of the incident.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: "Ashley Williams and Everton will surely face further sanction from UEFA once video evidence is studied. Williams totally lost the plot.

"There were numerous players from both teams involved in the melee behind the Lyon goal and even a fan from the Everton section at the Gwladys Street end became involved, first pushing then appearing to aim a punch at a Lyon player.

"The fact that a couple of Everton backroom staff had to enter the field to calm Williams down showed how out of control the captain was and, while their intervention helped, they should not enter the field of play.

"The UEFA delegate and referee's observer will have met with the official after the game and discussed their findings before submitting individual reports. Unless the referee ill-advisedly says he saw everything, sanctions really must follow.''

The loss to Lyon left Everton with just one point from their three Europa League ties this year and heaped further pressure on Koeman.

The manager claimed his players' hot-headedness had been caused by Van de Ven's officiating, saying: "I think the irritation grows in the game for our players and in my opinion that was the problem by the referee.

"The referee was Dutch but he didn't do anything against the theatre of some of the Lyon players. Fekir in the first half dived 10 times.

"I understand with my players, that comes out of frustration. I don't know what happened, but I can understand it."

Lyon boss Bruno Genesio said: "Up to the incident we had dominated the match, but afterwards we woke up Everton and their fans.

"The incident made us lose our focus on the match and lifted Everton.

"I think everyone did their job in that situation. We could then get on with the game, which was the main thing."

Koeman made five changes to his starting line-up, leaving out a number of experienced players, and youngster Mason Holgate slid in on Marcal to concede an early penalty.

For the remainder of the first half, Koeman accepted his players looked bereft of confidence.

"[It was] really stupid," he said of Holgate giving away the spot-kick.

"I think the performance was under the level in the first half, a lot of mistakes, a lot of doubts, players without any confidence."

ESPN FC's France correspondent Ian Holyman contributed to this report.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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