Thug Football Players to Face Police Charges; Cases Reviewed after Season of On-Pitch Brawls

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Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

POLICE are investigating alleged assaults and incidents involving threatening behaviour by footballers during Premiership matches.

It comes as the Crown Prosecution Service draws up new guidelines that may see more players facing criminal charges for offences committed on the pitch.

The names of the players involved in the new probes have not been revealed.

The season was marred by a series of on-field bust-ups but no charges have yet been brought. A CPS spokeswoman said today that prosecutors are studying a police file on the brawl between Newcastle United team-mates Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer during a match.

The BBC reported today that other incidents are also under criminal investigation.

Sunday league footballers are more likely to face prosecutions than those playing at the highest level, prompting concerns of double standards with Premiership stars apparently above the law.

The CPS spokeswoman said a conference today called Crime in Sport will look at why poor on-pitch behaviour does not lead to more criminal charges.

The CPS spokeswoman told the Standard: "We are looking at developing a policy on crimes such as assaults that take place between players on the pitch.

"At the moment they are dealt with by the sports' governing bodies but we are now looking at developing a policy on whether we should be prosecuting these offences. …