Man arrested over claims that footballer was 'punched, kicked and spat upon after game'
A man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting Chesterfield captain Ian Evatt at the end of the League One play-off semi-final second leg at Preston on Sunday.
Evatt reported that he had been "punched, kicked and spat on" as supporters invaded the pitch at the final whistle and on Monday he called for the Football Association to act, and Lancashire Police have now made an arrest in relation to the matter.
A statement from the force read: "Police investigating an assault on a Chesterfield player have arrested a man.
"The 20-year-old from Preston was arrested this morning (Monday, May 11) on suspicion of Section 47 assault and is currently in custody.
"Police are continuing to investigate the alleged assault on Chesterfield player Ian Evatt which followed an otherwise largely peaceful incursion onto the pitch at the end of the Preston vs Chesterfield match at Deepdale on Sunday, May 10. The player was thankfully not seriously hurt.
"Officers are continuing to try and identify anyone involved in the assault. They would like to thank those who have provided information so far and appeal for anyone with information or who witnessed the incident to contact police on 101 quoting log number 0835 of May 10."
Evatt told talkSPORT on Monday morning that in his view it is only a matter of time until a player gets seriously injured during pitch invasions by an "idiot with a knife" and called on the FA to take stronger action.
The 33-year-old, who used to play for Preston's rivals Blackpool, 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."
Evatt has given a statement to police following the alleged assault and admitted he was frightened by the level of anger from fans despite Preston running out 4-0 winners on aggregate to reach Wembley for the first time since 1994.
"The police were down after the game and Sky Sports were televising the game and they came down straight away with the footage of the two guys who threw the punches," he added.
"It's clear as day so hopefully they will get their comeuppance and will be banned from football. 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."
The defender also criticised referee Andy D'Urso for not ending the game when the Chesterfield players had a chance to get off the pitch.
He added: "All game I was getting abuse so it was plain to see what was going to happen. The game was over and he's waited until the ball was at the wrong end of the pitch and then blown up. He could have helped me a bit more and helped my team-mates."
The Football Association says it will contact Preston for its observations on the pitch invasion and incidents.
An FA spokesman said: "We will seek observations from the home club."
The FA will look into the level of stewarding at the game, any appropriate measures that were taken and what the club is doing to identify the people involved.