Everton directors to skip game because of 'credible threat'

AP , Saturday 14 Jan 2023

Everton's board of directors were instructed not to attend Saturday's home match against Southampton because of a ``real and credible threat to their safety and security,'' the Premier League team said.

Everton s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, center, reacts after Brighton s Pascal Gross scored his sides
Everton s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, center, reacts after Brighton s Pascal Gross scored his sides fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. AP


The decision was made ahead of reports of a possible protest at Goodison Park in the wake of Everton's poor form this season.

``The board members received the instruction following malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence received by the club and increasing incidents of anti-social behavior _ including targeted physical aggression _ at recent home matches,'' the club said in a statement.

Everton is third from the foot of the table and three points ahead of last-place Southampton going into Saturday's game.

Chairman Bill Kenwright, CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance and strategy officer Grant Ingles and non-executive director Graeme Sharp were advised not to attend the match, the club said.

Everton's statement included a quote from a security adviser: ``Following a thorough risk assessment, and in response to tangible threats received by the club and intelligence we have gathered, the club's board members have been told they must not attend today's fixture.''

Everton has failed to win any of its last eight games in all competitions and lost 4-1 at home to Brighton in its last home match.

``This is an unprecedented decision for Everton Football Club _ never before has our entire board of directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds. It is a profoundly sad day for Everton and Evertonians,'' the club said.

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