06 February 2022

Brendan Rodgers blames ‘total lack of respect’ in society after fan attack

06 February 2022

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has blamed “a total lack of respect” in society after a spectator appeared to attack Nottingham Forest players during Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash between the sides.

A man was wrestled to the ground by stewards and later arrested after emerging from the away section at the City Ground as Forest celebrated their third goal in a 4-1 win over the holders.

Speaking after the final whistle, Rodgers bemoaned a series of unsavoury incidents during matches in recent weeks, including objects being thrown at players, and said: “It’s society. The rules of society have changed. There’s a total lack of respect..

It's not just in football, it's in life.

“It’s not just in football, it’s in life. I speak to many business people and people in the military, all across society. It’s the lack of respect and people feeling entitled that they can do things.

“The rules of society need to change and we see that lack of respect today. We’ve seen it for the last couple of years. Supporters breaking into stadiums, what is that about?

“You come, you support your team and win, lose or draw, you have respect. It’s lacking in society and it spreads into other aspects of life.”

The incident happened as Joe Worrall celebrated with his team-mates after his 32nd-minute strike had put Forest 3-0 ahead.

The Leicester fan appeared to attack Forest’s players as they celebrated (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Wire)

Rodgers said: “It’s behaviour that you never want to see. Whatever goes on in the field, it has to be a safe environment for the players, and we must always retain the respect in football.

“Unfortunately the guy has come on to the pitch and was clearly, clearly disappointed by what he was watching.”

Leicester were quick to apologise to Forest for the incident and said in a statement that the fan was facing a lifetime ban.

It read: “The club is appalled by such behaviour and offers its apologies to Nottingham Forest and its players whose safety was compromised.

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper did not see the incident (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“We applaud the swift action taken by City Ground stewards in apprehending the individual involved, who will be subject to a lifetime ban from all Leicester City fixtures at home and away.

“We will offer every support to the relevant authorities in pursuing further appropriate action.”

Forest boss Steve Cooper admitted he had not seen what happened and backed the authorities to deal with it.

Cooper said: “We have to trust the authorities to do the right thing. I haven’t spoken to the players about it. It didn’t really get a mention.”

However, Forest midfielder Philip Zinckernagel outlined what had happened in a post-match interview.

He told beIN Sports: “It’s terrible. We thought it was one of our fans coming to celebrate with us, so even though we’re not supposed to, we kind of grabbed him in and wanted to share our joy with him.

“Suddenly he started punching away and it was a bit shocking. Hopefully this guy will not see a football match for a long time.”

Nottinghamshire Police confirmed that a man had been arrested.

Chief Inspector Neil Williams said: “We have arrested a man in connection with an incident that took place today during the first half of the Nottingham Forest and Leicester City FA cup match.

“Investigations are in the very early stages and our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing.”

Pundit and former Leicester and England player Gary Lineker was among those who were quick to condemn the incident.

Lineker tweeted: “Whoever that so-called fan was who ran on to the pitch throwing punches at @NFFC’s players should be banned for life by @LCFC. An embarrassment and a disgrace.”

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