Concern for pilot test matches at Edgbaston Cricket Ground Stadium following pitch invasion

  • Footage from SnapperSK

Warwickshire County Cricket Clubs says it plans to give out lifetime bans to those who invaded the Edgbaston pitch at Thursday's T20 Match (24 June). Government restrictions meant the stadium was only a quarter full, but the atmosphere was boosted by thousands of students who were attending through a third-party event promotor - ironically named 'Invades'.

People were promised 'exclusive drink deals' and could be seen enjoying fancy dress at the event, which saw Birmingham Bears lose by 5 wickets to Derbyshire Falcons.

People attending the England v New Zealand Test Match at the stadium earlier this month had to show a negative coronavirus test, but this wasn't the case for the T20 game.

There were numerous PA announcements throughout the game urging people to stay in their seats and maintain social distancing.

Numerous announcements were made urging fans to maintain social distancing. Credit: BPM Media

Despite this, before the game had finished, a number of people seated in the Eric Hollies Stand, decided to test the barriers and run onto the pitch.

As the players lined up to shake hands at the end of the game, hundreds of spectators were already on the outfield.

Stuart Cain, CEO of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, described the scenes as 'disgraceful' and said the club would be ending their working relationship with the third party. Mr Cain says that the organiser behind the pitch invaders attendance was "well aware of social distancing requirements and these were communicated to everybody who bought a ticket."He adds that these rules were "enforced as best as possible on the evening by stewards who worked incredibly hard to manage their behaviour."

Mr Cain says that after society has spent the last 15 months managing the pandemic, seeing a small number of people behaving this way is "heartbreaking".

There are now some concerns that the stadium could lose its pilot license because of the scenes on Thursday (25 June) evening, which allows it to host matches with spectators for the government's research into mass events following the lifting of restrictions.

Credit: BPM Media

A spokesperson for Invades told ITV News Central "the actions and behaviour at Edgbaston last night were totally unacceptable. We are working with the Edgbaston team to investigate this isolated, one-off incident, and shall be issuing lifetime bans to all those identified." The spoksperson continued by saying that, having welcomed over eighty thousand young people to 30 different stadiums in 3 countries, they believe that introducing the next generation of fans is vital for the future of sport.

They say they will continue to work with governing bodies and partners to deliver safe sporting experiences that bring joy to thousands of young people.

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