LONDON: Football supporters in the Premier League and the English Football League will receive an automatic club ban for invading pitches under new rules set by The Football Association. At the tail-end of the earlier season in England, a number of anti-social incidents across England’s top divisions occurred. A number of play-off games in the Championship, League One, and games in the Premier League were marred by pitch invasions and assaults on players and managers. Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted by an onrushing fan in the Championship play-off semi-final, Aston Villa keeper Robin Olsen was assaulted by a Manchester City fan on the final day of the Premier League, and Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was harassed by an Everton supporter. FA chief executive Mark Bullingham speaking in a statement said that the ‘stronger sanctions’ will be used to deter the same the type of behaviour next season. “It is the responsibility of everyone in the game, including governing bodies, clubs, players, coaches, and fans, to ensure that we all play our part in protecting our game and each other “The rise in anti-social behaviour that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was entirely unacceptable and put people’s safety at risk,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said. “Together, English football has introduced new measures and stronger sanctions, for the start of the coming season, to send out a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of illegal and dangerous behaviour. The new rules have also been welcomed by chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, Kevin Miles “We are contacted by supporters on a fairly regular basis who have been caught jumping on the pitch, or with pyro in the stands, and without exception they regret doing it,” Miles added”Whether they had positive intentions or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the law – pyro and pitch incursions are illegal, you will be prosecuted and you will be banned by your club.” It is also confirmed that supporters who carry or use pyrotechnics or smoke bombs will now receive an automatic club ban and offenders reported to the police, while clubs also face tougher policies and stronger sanctions.