The Football Association (FA) has condemned pitch-invading fans after a number of high-profile incidents of violence near the end of the English league season.

Earlier on Friday, Merseyside Police announced they had launched an investigation into an altercation between Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and a fan, after Everton supporters flooded onto the Goodison Park pitch to celebrate the Toffees securing Premier League safety with a 3-2 comeback victory.

Widely circulated footage appeared to show Vieira kicking out at the fan after being goaded, while this week also saw a Nottingham Forest supporter jailed and given a stadium ban after attacking Sheffield United player Billy Sharp following a Championship play-off semi-final at the City Ground.

Elsewhere, Swindon Town players were allegedly physically and verbally abused during a pitch invasion at Port Vale, while a Northampton Town fan appeared to shove a Mansfield Town player during League Two's other play-off semi-final tie.

English football's governing body has now moved to condemn the scenes and confirmed it is investigating each of the pitch invasions to have taken place over recent days.

"We are very concerned about the rise in anti-social behaviour from fans as we reach the end of the season," a statement from the FA began.

"Football stadiums should always be a safe and enjoyable space for everyone, and these incidents are completely unacceptable and have no place in our game.

"It is illegal to enter the pitch area in any stadium and these actions are putting players, fans and people who run the game at great risk. This simply cannot continue, and we can confirm that we are investigating all of the incidences. 

"Clubs play a vital role in addressing this issue and they need to prevent pitch invasions from occurring, as well as taking their own action against those that break the rules and the law.

"The FA will be seeking to do all that it can to work with clubs as well as addressing the issues from a disciplinary perspective. We are also reviewing our regulations to help stamp this behaviour out and to ensure the safety of everyone inside a stadium."

The Football Association has denied reports that it plans to replace 'Three Lions' as England's official World Cup anthem for Qatar 2022.

British newspaper The Sun claimed on Thursday that The FA is reviewing other options over concerns the song, which has been a fans' favourite since Euro 96, offends other nations.

Luka Modric said after Croatia's win over England in the 2018 World Cup semi-final that his side were additionally motivated to win due to the song's lyrics.

It had been suggested that 'Sweet Caroline', which became synonymous with England's run to last year's Euro 2020 final, would replace the Baddiel and Skinner hit.

However, the FA has released a statement denying that is the case.

"Contrary to reports this morning, The FA still plays Three Lions at major Wembley matches and has never had any intention of doing otherwise," the statement read.

"The song belongs to the fans and is about the hope of following the England team. 

"It was requested by The FA to be played as one of our team songs at the 2018 World Cup and at the EUROs last summer, and this is our plan at tournaments going forwards."

The Football Association (FA) has charged Frank Lampard with improper conduct after the Everton manager vented his frustrations at not being awarded a penalty against Liverpool.

Everton, who beat Chelsea on Sunday to go back to within two points of safety with five games remaining in their Premier League campaign, lost 2-0 to their quadruple-chasing Merseyside rivals at Anfield on April 24.

Andrew Robertson and Divock Origi punctured Everton's resolve but the Toffees were infuriated when referee Stuart Attwell failed to give a penalty after Joel Matip bundled into Anthony Gordon early in the second half when the game was goalless. 

Lampard told a post-match news conference: "If that was [Mohamed] Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. You don't get them here. That's the reality of football sometimes." 

The FA asked Lampard for an explanation of his comments last week, which the Chelsea great said he responded to, and the governing body has now issued a charge.

A statement issued via the FA Spokesperson Twitter account read: "Frank Lampard has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to post-match media comments that he made following Everton FC's Premier League match against Liverpool FC on Sunday 24 April 2022. It is alleged that the manager's comments constitute improper conduct as they imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee – or referees generally – and/or bring the game into disrepute."

Lampard has until May 9 to respond. 

Everton are also waiting to discover what punishment, if any, Richarlison will face after the forward threw a smoke bomb that had been launched onto the pitch in the wake of his winning goal against Chelsea back towards the stands, albeit into an unoccupied section of Goodison Park.

The Football Association insists it intends to work with the UK government to ensure both FA Cup semi-finals have sell-out crowds.

Questions have been raised whether Chelsea fans will be able to attend the game against Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium with the club still working under government-imposed sanctions, preventing them from making a profit by selling match tickets.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and had his assets frozen, after he announced his intentions to sell the Premier League club earlier in March.

A statement released on Monday by the FA confirmed its desire to discuss the matter with the government to potentially allow Blues fans to attend the game, scheduled to take place on April 16 or 17.

"We hope to have sell-out crowds at both of our Emirates FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium," the statement read.

"This includes tickets for Chelsea supporters for their match against Crystal Palace, and we are working with the government on a method to achieve this whilst respecting the sanctions that are currently in place on Chelsea."

Chelsea later stated their gratitude for the FA's efforts in the matter, writing on Twitter: "We are grateful for the FA's continuing efforts to help us find a solution." 

The other semi-final will see Manchester City face Liverpool, with uncertainty around the arrangements for that game also after it emerged that there are currently no scheduled trains between Manchester or Liverpool and London for that weekend.

FIFA has confirmed Russia must compete in their upcoming matches as the Football Union of Russia (RFU).

The order from world football's governing body comes in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday, with fighting having escalated over the weekend.

FIFA has been put under increasing pressure to sanction Russia, with UEFA having already stripped St Petersburg of this season's Champions League final, while the football associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic all jointly outlined their refusal to play Russia.

This cast doubt over next month's World Cup qualifiers, with Poland set to face Russia in a play-off semi-final, with the winner of that match to play either Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place in Qatar.

On Sunday, FIFA confirmed Russia would have to play under a neutral banner of the RFU, similar to how the International Olympic Committee had the country's athletes represent the Russian Olympic Committee following a state-sponsored doping scandal.

Russia's flag cannot be displayed, nor can their anthem be played, and all of their home matches must now take place at a neutral venue, behind closed doors.

A statement read: "FIFA would like to reiterate its condemnation of the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Violence is never a solution and FIFA expresses its deepest solidarity to all people affected by what is happening in Ukraine.

"FIFA calls again for the urgent restoration of peace and for constructive dialogue to commence immediately. FIFA remains in close contact with the Ukrainian Association of Football and members of the Ukrainian football community who have been requesting support to leave the country for as long as the current conflict persists."

"With regard to the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, FIFA has taken good note of the positions expressed via social media by the Polish Football Association, the Football Association of the Czech Republic and the Swedish Football Association and has already engaged in dialogue with all of these football associations. FIFA will remain in close contact to seek to find appropriate and acceptable solutions together."

However, FIFA's sanctions do not go far enough, according to Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza, who tweeted: "Today's FIFA decision is totally unacceptable.

"We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will NOT PLAY with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is."

FIFA's sanctions followed on from the English FA confirming it would boycott any upcoming matches against Russia for the foreseeable future, at any level.

England will boycott international football fixtures with Russia "for the foreseeable future" in response to the conflict in Ukraine, the Football Association (FA) has confirmed.

After weeks of heightening political tensions, Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the conflict having escalated over the weekend.

Russia's actions have been widely condemned, with political, financial and sporting sanctions imposed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called on all international sporting federations to relocate or cancel any events set to take place in Russia or Belarus, while St Petersburg was stripped of the 2021-22 Champions League final by UEFA and Formula One removed the Russian Grand Prix from its 2022 calendar.

The FA has followed suit and will refuse to take part in any fixture with Russia for the foreseeable future as a show of solidarity for Ukraine.

"Out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we won't play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future," a statement released by the FA read.

"This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football."

The FA's stance comes after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic all announced that they will boycott matches against Russia in the upcoming World Cup qualification play-off rounds.

A number of prominent footballing figures, including Robert Lewandowski, have spoken out in support of that decision, while Sunday's EFL Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley was preceded by a united display of support for the Ukrainian people.

Arsenal have been fined by the Football Association for failing to control their players' conduct during their 2-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester City.

League leaders City snatched a late winner through Rodri at the Emirates Stadium on New Year's Day, in a match littered with contentious moments.

Arsenal were convinced they should have had a penalty for Ederson's tackle on Martin Odegaard in the first half, while they were then left outraged that a spot-kick was awarded City's way for Granit Xhaka's challenge on Bernardo Silva.

Gabriel Magalhaes was booked for dissent during the aftermath of that decision, with the centre-back then receiving another booking two minutes later for clattering into Gabriel Jesus.

Arsenal's players surrounded referee Stuart Attwell and, for that, the club have been handed an FA fine of £20,000.

An FA statement said Arsenal had "failed to control their players in an orderly fashion".

The Gunners have accepted the fine and admitted the charge, meaning there will be no appeal.

After the game, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg, who stood in for the isolating Mikel Arteta, questioned the consistency of the officiating, in particular the use of VAR.

Arsenal's defeat allowed West Ham and Tottenham, who both won, to close the gap to one and two points respectively.

FIFA has invited football's governing bodies to an online summit to discuss biennial World Cup plans and the international calendar on September 30.

FIFA, led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, has been promoting the idea for the World Cup to shift format and take place every two years.

Wenger's proposal would see a major final held every year, the former Arsenal manager previously suggesting players would be playing in another tournament if it was not the World Cup either way.

However, UEFA and CONMEBOL have both rubbished the suggestions due to scheduling concerns, with FIFA now inviting the pair - along with all other member associations and league representatives - to discuss matters further.

"There is a broad consensus within the game that the International Match Calendar should be reformed and improved," FIFA's statement on Monday said.

"Following invitations to stakeholders, including all confederations, at the beginning of September, discussions are being organised in the coming weeks.

"This is one of several opportunities to establish a constructive and open debate, at a global and regional level, over the coming months and FIFA is looking forward to it.

"As this is a football project, in which the global interests of football should come first, this process started with players and coaches from all over the world. The debate will also involve fans from around the globe.

"FIFA is committed to being a forum for meaningful debate by engaging with a wide range of stakeholders including fans and looks forward to discussions on the sustainable growth of football in all regions of the world, at all levels."

The men's World Cup has taken place every four years since 1930, aside from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War, while the women's World Cup has followed suit since its 1991 debut.

However, FIFA released results of fan surveys last week, which showed most favoured a two-year gap between World Cups, though in each age category the popular choice was to retain the current format.

Chelsea have been fined £25,000 by the Football Association (FA) for failing to control their players during their 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool.

The Blues admitted to two breaches of FA Rule E20.1 in the lively match at Anfield on August 28, both of those incidents occurring after referee Anthony Taylor sent off Reece James and awarded Liverpool a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

James was adjudged to have purposefully used his hand to block a shot on the line, with Mohamed Salah equalising from the penalty spot to cancel out a Kai Havertz opener, but the decision left Chelsea's players incensed.

Defender Antonio Rudiger and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy were booked for their protests, and the fallout continued as the players left the field after Taylor had blown for half-time.

A statement from the FA on Wednesday read: "Chelsea FC has been fined £25,000 for two breaches of FA rule E20.1 which occurred during their Premier League fixture against Liverpool FC on Saturday 28 August 2021.

"The club admitted failing to ensure that its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during both the 48th minute of the first half and following the half-time whistle."

The result on Merseyside ensured Chelsea and Liverpool had an identical record from their opening three games to the new Premier League season, with two wins, one draw, six goals scored and one conceded.

Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp agreed after the game that the decision to both award a penalty and send off James was harsh.

Gareth Southgate again praised his England players for their opposition to racism amid allegations they were abused during Thursday's 4-0 win in Hungary.

England secured a superb victory in Budapest, moving five points clear at the top of Group I in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Second-half goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice helped the Three Lions move on swiftly from their Euro 2020 final heartbreak.

But this latest triumph was marred by the actions of Hungary supporters as their side suffered their heaviest defeat in 118 home World Cup qualifiers.

Objects were thrown at Sterling and his team-mates as they celebrated, while there were also reports of chants aimed at the Manchester City forward.

Southgate, like several of his players, said he had not heard the abuse, although England's decision to take the knee at kick-off was widely jeered.

He added: "It sounds like there have been some incidents and everybody knows what we stand for as a team and that that's completely unacceptable."

A Football Association spokesperson said: "It is extremely disappointing to hear reports of discriminatory actions towards some of our England players.

"We will be asking FIFA to investigate the matter.

"We continue to support the players and staff in our collective determination to highlight and tackle discrimination in all its forms."

Southgate's England have repeatedly taken a stand against racism, although the manager has been keen to highlight the negative responses to these demonstrations from a section of their own support.

"It's still taking us a long, long time to get to where we want to get to, and inevitably if other countries don't have the same level of diversity, it's probably not been in their thinking in the same way it has in our country," he explained.

"We will continue to do what we do. We will continue to set the right example for people in our own country, who will be more influenced by us than perhaps people will be elsewhere."

Little of Southgate's post-match news conference focused on the game – a 25th World Cup qualifier in succession without defeat – but he praised his players throughout.

"I don't think our players can do any more than they have done in the last two or three years in getting the right messages in, making the right stands," he said.

"It's for other people to protect them. It's for me to protect them in the main, but for authorities to protect them as well. They shouldn't have to be subjected to any form of racism."

The Three Lions boss added: "[The players] recognise that the world is changing and, although some people are stuck in their ways of thinking and their prejudices, they're going to be the dinosaurs in the end, because the world is modernising."

He finished his media duties saying: "I'm always conscious that whenever I speak about this, I don't know if I get exactly the right tone or the right words – I never want to be dismissive of it.

"Our intentions are good and we hope that people understand that and respect that."

Chelsea have been charged by the Football Association (FA) with failing to control their players during Saturday's Premier League meeting with Liverpool.

The charge relates to two incidents following referee Anthony Taylor's decision to send off Reece James and award Liverpool a penalty in first-half stoppage time after the defender was adjudged to have purposefully used his hand to block a shot on the line.

Chelsea's players reacted angrily, with defender Antonio Rudiger and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy booked for their protests, and the fallout continued after Taylor blew for half-time.

The Blues have been charged with two breaches of FA Rule E20.1 and have been given until Friday to respond.

Chelsea led at Anfield through a Kai Havertz header when Taylor awarded the penalty following a check of the pitchside monitor, with Mohamed Salah successfully converting to earn Liverpool a 1-1 draw.

Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp agreed after the game that the decision to both award a penalty and send off James was harsh.

Guidance on heading will be introduced to every level of English football for the 2021-22 campaign, the Football Association (FA) has announced.

The new heading guidance has been agreed between the relevant bodies and will be applicable from the Premier League down to grassroots football and across the England national teams.

The advice will not affect football matches or the rules of the game, but instead the heading that occurs in training sessions, where most heading is performed.

Based on multiple studies by the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee, the initial focus of the guidance involves high-force headers, which usually follow a long pass (more than 35 metres) or from crosses and set-pieces.

The headers branded 'high force' will be limited to 10 per any training week, with clubs also recommended to develop tailormade player profiles to protect welfare.

While club staff will be encouraged to monitor recovery from heading exposure, further guidance also identifies how to produce lower-force headers – for example, throwing a ball for a header instead of kicking it.

Due to early evidence suggesting neck muscle is important for higher-force heading, a strength and conditioning advisory panel will identify safe ways to improve neck and torso strength.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "Our priority is to make the game as safe as possible for all players.

"We have worked collaboratively across football to undertake these initial research projects to help us further understand the impact of heading and inform guidance for all levels of the game.

"This is a long-term piece of work. We will now build on these studies and we remain committed to further research to ensure we have the right approach in place to protect the welfare of all players."

For amateur clubs, the guidance is for heading practice to be limited to one session per week and no more than 10 headers a session, with players expected to monitor themselves.

This guidance aims to reduce overall exposure and improve welfare, while not affecting personal development of heading technique.

At youth level, guidelines have been in place since February 2020, with further updates being published on Wednesday.

FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said: "We already have the most comprehensive guidelines in the world for youth football and now we are introducing, in partnership with the other football bodies, the most comprehensive adult football guidelines anywhere.

"Our heading guidance now reaches across all players, at all levels of the game.

"These measures have been developed following studies with coaches and medics and represent a cautious approach while we learn more.

"We are committed to further medical research to gain an understanding of any risks within football, in the meantime this reduces a potential risk factor.

"Overall it is important to remember that the overwhelming medical evidence is that football and other sports have positive impacts on both mental and physical health."

The relevant governing bodies will continue research before another formal review in June 2020 as football attempts to protect players' long-term health.

The Football Association has commissioned an independent review into the "disgraceful scenes" that marred England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy at Wembley.

England suffered a 3-2 penalty shoot-out loss on home soil to Italy on July 11 following a 1-1 draw after extra time in their first major tournament final in 55 years.

The showpiece match was overshadowed by a security breach that saw a number of ticketless supporters enter the stadium and clash with fellow fans and stewards.

UEFA last week launched its own investigation and hit the FA with four charges relating to fan disorder, including the throwing of objects and the lighting of fireworks.

The unsavoury scenes prompted Julian Knight MP, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), to write to FA CEO Mark Bullingham demanding answers.

And in a statement released on Monday, the FA has vowed to identify those responsible for the trouble before, during and after the game.

"We are determined to fully understand what happened outside and then inside Wembley Stadium at the Euro 2020 final on July 11," the statement read.

"We informed DCMS at the weekend that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned to report on the facts and circumstances involved. 

"It will speak to all parties concerned and include external experts.

"A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated. 

"We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those responsible and hold them to account."

The FA was also previously fined €30,000 (£25,630) by UEFA for the behaviour of supporters during the semi-final win against Denmark, which included a laser being shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

FA Cup replays will make a comeback in the new season for ties up to and including the fourth round.

Replays were scrapped in 2020-21 in an effort to ease pressure on clubs in a campaign that was condensed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, after it was announced on Tuesday that EFL Cup semi-finals will revert to being played over two legs, the Football Association has confirmed the return of replays in its highest-prestige cup competition.

The 2021-22 FA Cup campaign will be the 150th in the tournament's history, with 729 clubs participating. Premier League and Championship teams will enter from the third round in early January.

The FA also announced on Thursday that the total prize fund for the competition will remain at around £16million, the same level as it was last season.

Leicester City lifted the trophy for the first time in their history in May after beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final at Wembley through a Youri Tielemans strike.

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