The fan who punched Jack Grealish during Aston Villa’s 1-0 win in the Second City derby has been banned for life, Birmingham City have confirmed.
The Villa captain was assaulted 10 minutes into the fierce-competed derby, being attacked from behind and punched on his lower right cheek.
Stewards led the man away as he blew kisses to the crowd and was arrested soon after.
Now Birmingham City have apologised to both player and club for the incident and will support any criminal action against the individual.
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in this afternoon’s derby match.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The Club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The Club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this – there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”
Villa said afterwards they were “appalled” by the incident which they said crossed “a red line”.
A club statement read: “Aston Villa Football Club is appalled by the disgraceful attack on Jack Grealish during today’s game.
“A red line has been crossed by this cowardly on-field assault on a player, which is unprecedented in English football.
“We trust the perpetrator will feel the full force of the law and the authorities investigate the circumstances surrounding today’s deplorable incident.
“Local rivalries are part of the fabric of the game however, as we are sure our friends at Birmingham City would agree, to have a player’s personal safety placed under such jeopardy is a serious cause for concern for the entire football community.