Hibs memberships put 'on hold' following Scottish Cup pitch invasion
HIBS fans suspected of being involved in May's Scottish Cup final pitch invasion have had their memberships put 'on hold'.
Club safety officer Robert McGregor has written to an undisclosed number of fans requesting face-to-face interviews to discuss the unrest following Hibs’ 3-2 triumph over Rangers.
The move comes just days after police released more images of supporters they want to speak to in connection with violence at the end of the historic match.
Mr McGregor’s letter reads: “The purpose of this letter is to advise you that I am in possession of information which infers that you were on the pitch at Hampden Park at the end of the match.
“The club understands that supporters were overjoyed to win the Scottish Cup, however we also recognise that anyone leaving their seat and going on to the pitch is a serious matter, amounts to unacceptable conduct and places those on the pitch and others at risk.
“Any pitch incursion has the potential to result in more serious disorder and violent confrontations.
“The club is placed at risk of action by the football authorities by all such actions and urges all supporters to respect the rules around unacceptable conduct and to take personal responsibility for their own behaviour at matches.
“The purpose of this letter is to request that you make contact with me to arrange an appointment to discuss any involvement you may have had in the events that took place at full-time on May 21, 2016. In the meantime your membership has been placed ‘on hold’.”
A club spokesman refused to confirm how many letters had been sent out, describing them as “private” and saying only that they were a “communication with a specific group of supporters”.
It is not known what action the club could take following the face-to-face meetings.
A total of 38 people have so far been arrested in connection with the Cup final disorder, varying in age from 17 to 50.
Emergency services said 40 fans needed medical treatment after fighting broke out on the pitch – with one man suffering a punctured lung.
Hibs later issued an apology for the invasion, with chairman Rod Petrie insisting: “I condemn and the club condemns all of the violence and unacceptable conduct perpetrated on the pitch and elsewhere and in the margins of the match at Hampden. There is absolutely no place for it in the game of football.
“Hibernian will do all that it can to support the criminal investigations to ensure that those who have transgressed face the consequences of their actions.”
SFA bosses described the behaviour of some fans as “contemptible”.
Police inquiries into the incident are ongoing and an independent commission report is expected to be published later this week.