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19 May, 2022 18:05

English fan jailed for vicious headbutt on footballer (VIDEO)

The man attacked Sheffield United player Billy Sharp after Nottingham Forest won their Championship playoff semifinal
English fan jailed for vicious headbutt on footballer (VIDEO)

A Nottingham Forest fan has been jailed and given a 10-year ban from football matches after he pleaded guilty to assaulting Sheffield United's captain on Tuesday night.

Robert Briggs, 30, was one of many Forest supporters who stormed the City Ground pitch after his team beat Sheffield United on penalties in an English Championship semifinal second-leg playoff.

As captured on film, Briggs ran into United veteran Billy Sharp and appeared to floor him with a headbutt.

Nottinghamshire Police immediately launched an investigation into the matter and made an arrest as the clip circulated on social media and was seen four million times. 

On Thursday, Briggs appeared in Nottingham Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to actual body harm.

For this, he was handed a 24-week jail term and has also been ordered to pay 36-year-old Sharp, who once played for Forest, £500 ($625) in compensation.

Once released, Biggs, who was found to have shared 9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim material on social media, won't be able to attend a football match as part of a 10-year ban.

As a City Ground season-ticket holder who has been a Forest fanatic since early childhood, this will come as a blow to Biggs who currently earns £55,000 ($68,000) a year as an electrician.

In a statement, a Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said that Biggs' was "an extremely serious and unprovoked assault with a professional footballer standing at the side of the pitch left requiring stitches."

"Biggs has soured what should have been an incredible moment for the club and its fans. As a result of his actions, he won’t be able to enjoy seeing his club compete in the Premier League should Forest win the Championship play-off final," it was added.

Defending Biggs, however, his solicitor Rachel Gowans said that the attacker merely "followed his friends".

"His intention was to get to the tunnel where he saw three Forest players and he was focusing on them. He remembers running towards the players to the left of Billy Sharp, to where the tunnel is.

"His head has collided with the right side of the player's cheek", Gowans admitted, but she claimed the attack was not "targeted on the player" while adding that "emotions were running high".

Sentencing Biggs, who accepted that he shouldn't have invaded the pitch to celebrate Forest's win, District Judge Leong said that the video clip proved to him that Biggs was "running towards Billy Sharp" and that he "dodged all the other spectators to get towards him".

"I am of the view that it was a targeted act of aggression... even if it was not premeditated. You must have seen him fall over but you did not stop to check if he was alright or whether he was seriously injured," Long insisted.

The CPS statement added that the body had been "working alongside the police to ensure that this unacceptable act of violence has been dealt with quickly and decisively".

"Sporting events are occasions for the whole community to enjoy. Football banning orders are an important way to ensure those who cross the line at matches do not have the opportunity to put others at risk," it was concluded.

Without Biggs supporting them, Forest will play in the Championship playoff final against Huddersfield at Wembley on May 29.

Simultaneously, police are also investigating whether Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie stamped on a grounded fan during the pitch invasion.