December 9, 2021 4:23:09 pm
Sam Kerr took matters into her own hands — or rather her left shoulder — when a man holding a cellphone entered the field and held up play during a big Women’s Champions League match.
The Chelsea striker, who is Australia’s captain and one of the world’s best players, walked near to the man as he was finally being ushered back off the field and then knocked him to the ground, to cheers from fans.
The incident happened during Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Juventus at Kingsmeadow and Kerr was given a yellow card for her actions. In footage spread widely on social media, Juventus players seemed to try to stop the referee from booking Kerr.
Stewards at the match appeared to be slow in getting onto the field to deal with the man, something not lost on Chelsea manager Emma Hayes.
“We have seen in the growth of the game that there is this sense the players are more in demand,” Hayes said in quotes published on the BBC.
— Bradley Cox (@Bcoxy2012) December 8, 2021
“I think it should serve as a reminder to us all and the stadiums and stewards that we have to put player protection first.”
There have been frequent occasions in recent months when fans have run onto the field in games across various sports taking place in Britain, not least in the final minutes of a rugby international between Wales and South Africa when an intruder might have stopped the Welsh team scoring a match-winning try.
The man, who was later confirmed as a registered club player, was banned from rugby events at Wales’ Principality Stadium for life.
In cricket, a man dressed in full cricket whites slipped past stewards and ran onto the field before hurling a ball down the pitch and then colliding with an England player during the third test against India at The Oval in September. The man, a self-ascribed YouTube prankster, was arrested on suspicion of assault.
In men’s soccer, there have been two occasions over the past two months when fans have run onto the field at Old Trafford and got close to Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo before being stopped by stewards.
And at a Europa Conference League match between Tottenham and Vitesse last month, a young fan was confronted by stadium security on the field after he approached Tottenham striker Harry Kane after the final whistle.
The fan ended up being embraced by Kane and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as they walked off the field together. Kane and Lloris ended up giving the fan their jerseys.