Carling Cup clash

Police probe cup tie violence

January 27, 2011

Police will comb through CCTV footage to identify troublemakers at Wednesday night's Carling Cup semi-final between Birmingham and West Ham United.

Police officers monitor the crowd during the Carling Cup semi final  Birmingham and West Ham
GettyImagesPolice monitor the crowd during the semi final between Birmingham and West Ham

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A total of 17 people were arrested for a variety of offences during a "robust and large-scale'' operation at the second leg clash in Birmingham.

Birmingham beat West Ham 3-1 - 4-3 on aggregate - to reach the Carling Cup final, where their opponents will be Arsenal.

Lifelong Birmingham fan Craig Gardner sent City through to their first major Wembley final for 55 years with an extra-time winner at St Andrew's.

West Midlands Police said its operation in and around the stadium involved dog handlers, the force's helicopter and specialist evidence-gathering teams.

After the final whistle, police continued to monitor the city centre, transport hubs and bars for several hours.

Eyewitnesses said some fans were seen standing on top of vehicles before the match as supporters tried to confront each other in a car park at St Andrew's.

On Thursday, investigations into outbreaks of "sporadic disorder'' started as officers used CCTV to identify those responsible.

Superintendent Steve Graham, who commanded the policing operation, said: "The vast majority of spectators enjoyed a really exciting match in the spirit of friendly rivalry.

"Unfortunately, a very small minority used the game as an excuse to cause trouble. An investigation into outbreaks of sporadic disorder has now begun and we will be using CCTV footage to identify those responsible.''

He said as well as a criminal conviction, those found guilty of football-related violence face a lifetime ban imposed by the club and a football banning order.

However, Birmingham will not face a Football Association probe into the crowd trouble as the offences took place outside the stadium and therefore do not come under the jurisdiction of football's governing body.