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Backheel Breakfast: How harshly should Aston Villa be punished for pitch invasion?

The FA's position might sound ridiculous, but it's totally understandable.

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Aston Villa and Reading fans rushed the pitch after their respective FA Cup quarterfinals in early March, and they're probably both going to get punished for it. Over a month later, the FA have charged the two clubs for those incidents.

The FA calls the incident at Villa Park, specifically, as "disturbing." Some fans shoved West Bromwich Albion players, but that was reportedly the worst thing that happened to anyone as a result of the invasion. So what's the big deal?

Well, there isn't a big deal, really. Nothing bad happened and the FA don't have a reason to freak out. But at the same time, we can't ignore historical context here. It's perfectly understandable for the FA to be terrified of anything resembling crowd trouble after the numerous incidents that resulted in deaths and serious injuries in the 1980s. If Villa don't get a serious fine for this, teams don't have that much incentive to stay serious about security and crowd control policies.

But on the other hand, a very heavy fine or other sanctions could cause teams to start treating fans even more like consumers who need to know their place, not important partners in the success of their club. The FA has a tough decision to make.

In the news

Liverpool are going to give Jordan Henderson a new £100k per week contract. (Telegraph)

Giovani dos Santos will miss a month for Villarreal. (ESPN FC)

Carlo Ancelotti got sick of a line of questioning about injuries and asked reporters to focus on who's going to play for Real Madrid on Wednesday. (AS)

Yaya Toure says he's open to a new challenge next season. (Guardian)

Hannover have appointed Michael Frontzeck as their new manager. (Bundesliga)

Zdenek Zeman has resigned his post as Cagliari manager. (Football Italia)

Jon Moss will referee the FA Cup final. (Mirror)

You should be reading

Corley Miller on Arsene Wenger's loyalty and faith in his beliefs. (8 by 8)

Manuel Veth on Henrikh Mkhitaryan's career and future. (Futbolgrad)

Ian King on the promotion playoffs. (Two Hundred Percent)

Fun with transfer rumors

The section in which nothing should be taken seriously.

Expect a mass clearout at Liverpool. (Mail)

Boca Juniors are trying to bring back Carlos Tevez. (Football Italia)

Expect Kevin de Bruyne to go to Bayern if he leaves Wolfsburg. (Telegraph)

Monday's games

Fiorentina lost to Hellas Verona and are all but out of the top-three race in Serie A. (Viola Nation)

Elche beat Real Sociedad and look like they're staying up in La Liga. (Press Association)

What to watch on Tuesday (click for listings, all times ET)

Bayern Munich vs. FC Porto (2:45 p.m.) - The Bavarians have to overcome a two-goal deficit, but they do have an away goal.

Barcelona vs. PSG (2:45 p.m.) - This one is probably over, but maybe Zlatan will make it interesting.

Four Copa Libertadores games (from 7:30 p.m.) - Atletico Nacional vs. Libertad is the best one of the night.