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- Police injured by Millwall missiles
The Football League have condemned the "disgraceful"
scenes which saw 45 police officers injured following
the play-off semi-final between Millwall and Birmingham
last night. Six police officers needing hospital treatment
after trouble erupted following Stern John's last-minute
winner which put Birmingham through to Cardiff on the
back of a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
But City's victory was soon overshadowed by violence outside
the ground, with several hundred disgruntled Millwall
fans leaving the stadium with the aim of assaulting the
Birmingham supporters. Police said they threw missiles,
including bricks, paving stones, flares and fireworks.
The League have reacted by demanding tough action from
police to bring the rioters to justice and prevent them
from further damaging the game's reputation. Football
League spokesman Ian Christon admitted: "These were
disgraceful scenes and nobody wants to see that connected
"In terms of disciplinary action the Football Association
are responsible. We hope the police press charges against
the people involved and the courts take action to ban
these people from football grounds. "We don't want
this kind of thing blighting an excellent season for the
League and an excellent play-off competition."
Millwall president and director Reg Burr has promised
to crack down on the rioters. "Millwall continue
to work continuously to improve the quality of the support
they have and anybody that misbehaves at Millwall is banned
for life," he said. "Inside the ground the behaviour
"Our chairman Theo Paphitis has done a fantastic
job at Millwall. We've been through difficult times before
and I'm certain we'll come out of them again. "I
can assure you we will do anything we can to identify
any troublemakers and the appropriate action will be taken
- we will ban them for life."
Birmingham chairman David Gold gave his backing to Millwall's
efforts to clean up their reputation - and warned that
one incident should not tarnish the image of the game.
He said: "I know that Theo will be devastated. I
know he is working very hard.
"Millwall sadly have this reputation. We must be
very careful, you had 14,000 Millwall fans who were absolutely
devastated who went home peacefully. "We've come
a long way in the last 20 years when it was almost commonplace
at every game. "I'm saddened by it but be careful
we don't turn it into a major, major issue that football
is tied to violence."
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