LONDON: West Ham and Chelsea have expressed their extreme regrets over the fan violence which marred last night’s League Cup derby at the former Olympic Stadium whose security management has been an ongoing subject of controversy.
Skirmishes broke out towards the end of the Hammers’ impressive 2-1 fourth-round win as police and stewards battled to maintain segregation behind the goal being defended by West Ham.
Coins, seats and other objects appeared to be thrown between rival supporters, with the Hammers indicating they will punish anyone identified as a perpetrator of trouble.
A West Ham statement read: “West Ham United and London Stadium partners unreservedly condemn the behaviour of individuals involved in incidents during this evening’s fixture with Chelsea
“Whilst quickly brought under control, the club, in line with its clear zero tolerance policy, will work closely with London Stadium 185, the Metropolitan Police Service and Chelsea to identify the individuals involved.
“Once identified, those found to have acted improperly will be banned from attending any West Ham United fixtures for life and we will request the courts serve banning orders to prevent these individuals attending any other football.”
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic described the scenes as “unacceptable” and Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte expressed his disappointment.
A Chelsea spokesman said: “The club is extremely disappointed to see disturbances at the end of tonight’s game and we condemn such behaviour.”
Hammers have been occupants of the London Stadium for just nine games after leaving Upton Park in May – and 23 fans have already been banned this season.
There had already been disturbances in the stands and outside the ground at some of West Ham’s previous home matches, and a series of measures were put in place ahead of a first London derby.
This derby was billed as the biggest footballing test for the London Stadium so far, on a night when basketball and track cycling competitions were also taking place on the former Olympic Park. The capacity is capped at 57,000 and 45,957 were in attendance, along with a heavy police presence. Chelsea sold out their allocation of 5,182 tickets.
The clubs appealed to supporters for the tie to pass peacefully, but the entertaining match was overshadowed. With the Hammers 2-0 up, trouble broke out.
West Ham added: “London Stadium is fitted with a state of the art Panomera CCTV system which provides HD footage of every area of the ground and has led to the successful identification and subsequent banning of 23 individuals already this season.
“West Ham United have 10,000 under-16 season ticket holders and 25,000 supporters who attend as part of a family unit, and the club and stadium partners have been working hard to ensure that the stadium is a safe and family friendly environment for all home and away supporters.
“As such, the purchase of tickets for tonight’s fixture was limited to supporters with a recorded West Ham United purchase history and limited to only one ticket per person.
“We must stress that the overwhelming majority of supporters who have visited London Stadium have supported the team exceptionally and behaved impeccably.”