Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Police and FA to Work Together

Stadium violence seems to be on the increase, with fans causing trouble at games across the country. There have been several high profile incidents with fan violence directed towards players, officials and other supporters. Home fans have even been known to cause trouble against their own side, so looks at the latest story.

In the last few weeks, Brighton has been one club that has taken a stand against violence in the ground and signed up to a zero-tolerance approach against their own fans, banning four players for various offences. Their belief is by starting with their own fans, where they have some level of jurisdiction, they can send out a message to fans everywhere and hope that other clubs follow suit.

Recently the Chief Constable of Police Scotland commissioned a report, and this was undertaken by Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, of South Yorkshire Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for football policing. It highlighted several areas and coincided with chair throwing at the end of Aberdeen FC v Rangers, which seemed to hammer home the point that there was work to be done especially as six people were also arrested following the alleged use of pyrotechnic and disorder related offences. During a game the day before where Hibs took on Celtic a fan threw a bottle at Scott Sinclair, a Celtic forward.

Speaking on behalf of Aberdeen FC a representative said “We have a very close working relationship with Police Scotland and will continue that going forward, and will also comply with the recommendations of the report hand-in-hand with the police” One issue that was highlighted although not involving Aberdeen specifically was the overselling of tickets. This happened at a Fraserburgh v Rangers game last year, where it seems that somehow counterfeit tickets had been sold and 150 people were turned away at the gate. This caused issues outside the stadium as all of the fans believed their tickets to be genuine and it is possible some authentic tickets were among those refused entry.

In Brighton, a fan was caught abusing a player online and was banned from a fixed number of games as a punishment with the club keen to underline the fact that no form of abuse or violence will be tolerated in their club. In Manchester United fans turned on a former player Angel di Maria who now plays for Paris St-Germain, throwing bottles at him. Other high profile clubs have suffered attacks with fans from the opposition attacking Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal Fans. Generally, it seems that football fans feel safe attending matches, but it is essential that players also feel conformable and secure. As usual, it is a few spoiling it for the many. With initiatives involving closer working relationships with the clubs and the police, and with more clubs urged to take the same stand as Brighton it is hoped that stadium violence can become a thing of the past.

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