The Football Association has charged Preston North End Football Club for crowd trouble following their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final victory over
Chesterfield at Deepdale last month.
North End sealed their Wembley play-off final berth with a 3-0 victory over the Spireites on May 10 but there were ugly scenes during the pitch invasion to celebrate that achievement.
Chesterfield defender Ian Evatt, a previous employee of the Lilywhites’ rivals Blackpool, was assaulted by a 20-year-old apprentice mechanic who was later given a three-year ban from football.
The governing body has now alleged Preston failed to ensure spectators at the fixture “refrained from provocative and/or abusive and/or threatening and/or violent behaviour” and given the Championship newcomers until June 15 to respond.
Evatt had claimed he was punched, kicked and spat at during the pitch invasion and had suggested the FA take action against Preston to stop more violent scenes in the future.
Speaking to talkSPORT at the time, Evatt said: “How long is it going to go on for until a player gets seriously injured? All it takes is one idiot with a knife or whatever else. It’s going to happen one day, until something is done about it.
“The only way people are going to learn is if the clubs get punished. I don’t want that but how else are fans going to learn not to go on the pitch? We can’t bring back the cages.
“There’s got to be a way round it so maybe it is time for the FA to stand up and start punishing people for doing it.
“I was terrified, I’m a big guy but in the changing room afterwards I was distraught because I have never been faced with such anger. It was scary, especially being on my own.”
During legal proceedings, a legal representative for Evatt’s attacker Matthew Edwards claimed he had not intended to go on to the pitch but changed his mind when he saw friends beckoning him to join the thousands who had invaded.
Fans had originally started to huddle down at the Deepdale advertising hoardings during the closing stages of the second leg when it became obvious North End were heading for their first Wembley appearance since 1994.
Multiple announcements were made over the speakers in the ground encouraging supporters not to enter the field of play, but these were not heeded and some fans had spilled onto the pitch when Jermaine Beckford scored an 87th-minute goal from the halfway line.