PFA calls for player protection after Ferdinand is struck in Manchester derby

The Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) has said that netting and crowd control barriers at games may need to be considered following ugly incidents during the Manchester derby on Sunday.

The Daily Telegraph reports that PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor is concerned for player welfare after Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was struck on the face by a coin thrown from the crowd as he celebrated United’s late winner against City.

I think you’ve got to give consideration to possibly, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags,” commented Taylor. It is a precaution that is already used in many leagues, including the Italian and German leagues.

In the same game on Sunday, a fan also needed to be restrained by City goalkeeper Joe Hart after he ran onto the pitch to confront Ferdinand. United striker Wayne Rooney also complained about coins being thrown on the pitch when he took a corner in the second-half.

Ferdinand had a visible cut above his eye and required treatment before seeing out the rest of the game, which United won 3-2. An incident earlier in the year saw Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, Chris Kirkland, attacked by a fan who ran onto the pitch.

Ferdinand laughed off the incident, taking to Twitter to say: “Whoever threw that coin, what a shot!“, but fellow United player Ashley Young said: “It could’ve taken Rio’s eye out. You’ve seen the cut on his head.” The Football Association are investigating the incident.

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