Blackpool and EFL agree to suspend ticket sales to Leyton Orient fans after protest against Francesco Becchetti

James Benge
Leyton Orient: A flare on the pitch at Brisbane Road during the Sky Bet League Two match: PA

The English Football League has announced ticket sales to Leyton Orient fans have been suspended after a request by the London club's opponents on the final day of the season, Blackpool.

Their relegation from League Two having already been confirmed, Orient fans invaded the pitch in the 85th minute of their match against Colchester United in protest against the club’s owner Francesco Becchetti.

It was subsequently revealed that the game was completed behind closed doors, after the stadium had been emptied and an announcement had been made over the tannoy that the game had been suspended.

In a statement the EFL revealed that Orient fans’ actions during that game has led Blackpool to submit a request they subsequently have approved.

“The rationale for supporting this request is to allow sufficient time for a full review of the matchday safety and security arrangements (and any options within these) against the certainty of knowing the specific number of tickets sold to date and in which areas of Bloomfield Road,” the statement read.

“The EFL's objective will always be to ensure that fans of both Clubs are able to watch the match live, but in seeking to achieve this, we are required to consider all the contributing factors, to ensure that the safety of everyone at the game is not put at risk.

“Blackpool's concerns are not without foundation based on both the events that took place at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium on Saturday evening, and the fact that Blackpool themselves remain subject to a suspended charge following the failure to fulfil their Sky Bet Championship fixture against Huddersfield Town at Bloomfield Road on 2nd May 2015.

“The EFL Executive will consider all the matters on Tuesday and ensure that all the relevant parties are given the opportunity to contribute, including Leyton Orient and LOFT (Leyton Orient Fans Trust).”

Blackpool and the EFL will reassess the situation at 6pm on Tuesday May 2 and it is understood that a formal decision on whether to allow any more tickets to be sold to Orient fans will be taken at that meeting.

Any tickets already purchased by Orient fans will remain valid.

Fans invaded the pitch at Brisbane Road (PA)

A statement from the official Twitter account of Orient's ticket office said: “The club have no further information following the directive to suspend ticket sales which we have reluctantly complied with.

“As soon as we have more news for our supporters we will of course pass it along.”

Orient’s relegation from the Football League for the first time in 112 years was confirmed on April 22 after the Os failed to beat Crewe at Gresty Road.

The east London club have been in turmoil off the field, with staff only receiving their March wages on Monday April 24.

A winding-up petition in the high court was adjourned until June 12 after Orient settled a £250,000 debt but supporters are preparing for the worst, putting in place a fighting fund to use if Becchetti decides to sell up or the club go into administration.

The EFL have sought answers from Becchetti over the 24-day delay in paying wages and said in a statement last week that they remain “exceptionally concerned” about the situation at Orient.

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