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By ESPN Staff

FA launch probe into missile incident at Villa Park

The Football Association are to launch an investigation into the incident which saw assistant referee Phil Sharp struck by a coin near the end of Aston Villa's Barclays Premier League draw with Portsmouth.

And officials will call on Villa to ban the individual who threw the coin for life.

The FA intend to speak with the police and Villa regarding the incident in the closing seconds of a goalless draw which resulted in Sharp needing treatment to his head.

The official was clearly shaken as he sank to his knees but was able to officiate until the end of the game with a plaster on his forehead.

Villa were quick to condemn the incident, which happened in front of the dug-out.

Club spokesman Steve Tudgay said: "We can confirm a 50 pence coin was thrown at Phil Sharp. There was a cut to his head although he required no stitches and he is fine.

"The police and the club will hold a joint investigation and CCTV footage will be checked and the culprit will be dealt with by police.

"From our point of view any culprit will be banned for life and we condemn such actions very strongly.''

Villa manager Martin O'Neill said: "What happened was totally unacceptable and has no place in the game. A young linesman has gone down after being hit in the head and is obviously shocked.

"What happened could have turned out more serious and there is no place for this sort of thing in football.''

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp said: "It was probably thrown at me in all honesty but whoever does such things is a coward and a moron.

"That's all you can say about brave people like that. Hopefully the culprit will be banned from football for life. There is no place in our marvellous game for that.''

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