Football: Everton issue life ban for fan as police open investigations into Goodison Park fracas

Everton's English-born Welsh defender Ashley Williams (second from left) is kept apart as players clash during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Everton and Lyon at Goodison Park, in Liverpool on Oct 19, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Merseyside Police are investigating the brawl that broke out on the pitch between players from Everton and Olympique Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday.

Everton have banned one individual after reviewing footage of the incident and would also register a formal complaint against him with Merseyside Police, the Premier League side said in a statement on Friday.

The statement on Everton's website read: "Club officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players.

"We 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."

Everton captain Ashley Williams sparked off the incident in the 64th minute when he shoved Anthony Lopes into the advertising hoardings after the Lyon goalkeeper had collected the ball from a corner.

An all-out melee ensued with players from both sides getting involved, while at least one fan behind the goal was caught on video throwing punches at the Lyon players before stewards intervened.

"Merseyside Police can confirm officers are investigating following a disturbance on the pitch during a football match between Everton and Lyon at Goodison Park last night," the force said in a statement on Friday (Oct 20).

"Detectives will be reviewing footage and speaking to witnesses to establish what, if any, offences have been committed."

Everton manager Ronald Koeman blamed poor refereeing for the scuffle near the Gwladys Street End stand and the Merseyside club are likely to face disciplinary action by Uefa after the incident.

"I think the irritation grows in the game for our players and in my opinion, that was the problem by the referee," Koeman, whose team lost 2-1, said after the match.

"The referee was Dutch but he didn't do anything against the theatre of some of the Lyon players. (Lyon captain Nabil) 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."

Defender Williams, who scored an equaliser for Everton minutes after the incident, and Lyon striker Bertrand Traore, who scored the winner for his side, both received yellow cards during the incident.

The loss increases scrutiny of Koeman, whose team sit bottom of their group with no wins in three Europa League games and on a two-game winless streak in the Premier League, where they are 16th in the standings.

Everton host top-four contenders Arsenal in the league on Sunday (Oct 22).

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