LONDON – Police said they have identified the hooligan who attacked former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland on the field during a second-tier League Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.
The man has been named on social media sites but has yet to be arrested, having returned to the Leeds supporters' end after knocking Kirkland to the ground using both hands amid chaotic scenes in the game Friday at Hillsborough.
The Football Association said Saturday an investigation has been launched and it's awaiting the referee's report into the crowd trouble. Bottles were thrown onto the field, along with offensive chanting from both sets of fans.
"With the public's assistance we have clearly identified the offender, who is suspected of assaulting the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper," said detective inspector Mark Monteiro, South Yorkshire Police's senior investigating officer, on Saturday. "We are dealing with the complaint made by the player and we are currently taking statements, collating evidence and making inquiries to locate and arrest the offender."
Kirkland, who won a cap for England in 2006, required medical treatment after being shoved in the face by one of many Leeds fans who stormed the field after their team tied the game in the second half of a 1-1 draw.
Police said there were five arrests for various offenses before and after the game, while three people were ejected from the ground and 12 were subject to dispersal orders.
"The FA condemns the scenes at Hillsborough last night," the governing body said in a statement. "We have begun an immediate investigation and have been in contact with both clubs. We would call for the authorities to identify and bring before the courts anyone who was involved in any form of criminal disorder."