A pitch invasion occurs when a spectator or an unauthorized being makes its way into the field of play during a match. Let us look at the most famous pitch invasions in football history.
1. The Anti-Ryanair Protester:
A man who was protesting about the Ryanair recruitment policy distracted the match between Everton and Manchester City. The man, identified as John Foley handcuffed himself to the goalpost, forcing the match to a halt. He was banned from all sporting activities for three years.
2. The desperate boyfriend:
During a match between Eastleigh and Bolton Wanderers, a football fan, identified as John Dynes ran onto the field during a counter attack against Bolton Wanderers. His intention was to score a goal against Bolton Wanderers as a means of winning his ex back. Unluckily, he slipped in the 6 metre box and fell and the ball was cleared off. During his court trial, the prosecutor said, "He thought it would be the last chance to get his girlfriend back by getting on Match of the Day."
3. The Parachutist:
In 2013, a parachutist was seen hovering above a football stadium during a match. Seeing it as a distraction, he was asked to come down, so he landed on the pitch before he was escorted outside. In 2021, another parachutist almost bumped into one of the players in Poland while landing. Everything seemed normal until the referee awarded a yellow card to the parachutist.
4. The Weasel:
We have heard of animal invasions over the years, but this one is different. During a Swiss league encounter in 2013, a weasel invaded the pitch. It evaded capture for more than five minutes. It even bit the hand of one of the players who managed to grab him. At last, it was caught by a goalkeeper who was widely armed with a pair of gloves.
5. The gun wielding club owner:
In 2018, during a match between PAOK and AEK Athens, the owner of PAOK stormed the pitch with a hand gun to protest against a last minute goal that was disallowed by the referee. As a result of his actions, Greek football was suspended for two weeks, his side automatically lost 3 points and FIFA threatened to ban Greek from participating in sport activities. He later apologized to the public by saying this, "I am deeply sorry for what happened. I had absolutely no right to enter the pitch the way I did.”
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