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30-year-old man charged after Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp knocked to ground at end of Forest-Blades play-off

Robert Biggs to appear at Nottingham Magistrate's Court following charge (warning: graphic content)

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Sheffield United's Billy Sharp before the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, second leg match at the City Ground. Photo: PA

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp before the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, second leg match at the City Ground. Photo: PA

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp before the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, second leg match at the City Ground. Photo: PA

British police investigating an alleged on-pitch attack on Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp have charged a 30-year-old man with assault.

Robert Biggs, of Derbyshire, has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and going on to the playing area at a football match, Nottinghamshire Police said.

Sharp was knocked to the ground near the touchline at the City Ground at the end of the Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

An extensive police investigation was quickly launched following the incident which left the player requiring medical treatment.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "I am pleased we have now charged a suspect in connection with this assault. This is a result of hard work done throughout the night and today involving numerous police departments.

"We continue to work closely with both football clubs who are supporting our investigation following this incident.

"Cases such as this will hopefully serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking of getting involved in violent disorder at football matches. Incidents are treated extremely seriously by the force and football clubs and people involved will be held to account."

Biggs is being kept in custody and is due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Forest won the match 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw.

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The FA said it had launched an investigation after Forest's victory, which set up a meeting with Huddersfield in the final on May 29.

Forest confirmed the individual would be banned for life and apologised to Sheffield United but are bracing themselves for a significant punishment.

Sharp had not been playing due to injury but was stood on the touchline as supporters invaded the field after the shoot-out.

Sharp, who used to play for Forest, said on the morning after the incident: "One mindless idiot ruined what was an unbelievable night of football.

"Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their victory and good luck in the final. As an ex Forest player I will not let one scumbag ruin my respect for the Forest fans.

"Incredibly proud to be captain of this group of Sheffield United players, they gave their all and can hold their heads up high. We will be back and go again. Thanks for all your messages and support after the incident."

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom called for the fan to be jailed.

He said: "Billy was minding his own business and he was assaulted, blind-sided. It was cowardly. Billy is shaken up and he needed stitches. We have the footage.

"We always see people talking about player safety but nothing is ever done about it."


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