QPR face punishment if fans invade pitch

QPR: Loftus Road

QPR have been warned to expect significant repercussions if fans run onto the pitch after the final home match of the season.

The local authority and police have made it clear there will be sanctions imposed if there is a pitch invasion following the game against Birmingham City a week on Saturday.

The Football Association are also set to take a tough stance in light of a recent pitch invasion at Wigan following an FA Cup tie against Manchester City.

The League One club have since been hit with an FA charge, while West Ham could also be in hot water after protests from fans on the pitch at the London Stadium.

QPR in particular will be under close scrutiny because of previous pitch invasions at Loftus Road.

They are a traditional way of marking the end of the season at Rangers in spite of the club urging fans not to enter the pitch.

That is not the case at other clubs, including Chelsea and Fulham, who also come under the remit of Hammersmith & Fulham’s council and police, and QPR have therefore been told they must also ensure fans stay off the pitch.

Possible sanctions include a heavy fine or a reduced capacity being imposed for the final home match of next season.

The prospect of a fine is causing concern at Rangers given the club’s current financial limitations.

There will be a significantly increased number of stewards on duty for the Birmingham game and attempts to prevent fans entering the pitch are likely to be more robust than in past years.

‘Hold the line’

Previously, Rangers have asked fans to stay off the pitch and warned that players will not return for a so-called lap of appreciation if supporters do not remain in their seats.

However, once fans have run on, attempts to prevent others doing so have all but stopped and when the pitch has been cleared the players have in fact reappeared.

But this time police and stewards will be out in force with instructions to ‘hold the line’ – and QPR have been told not to allow their players back out unless supporters stay off the pitch.