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New PSNI strategy to tackle football crowd trouble

2023-06-04 02:48:08 source:The Washington Post author:Press center3 click:353order

The police are developing a new strategy to tackle crowd trouble at football matches in Northern Ireland.

The strategy will incorporate the national football framework for policing football across the UK.

The aim is to help stamp out a rise in sectarian chanting, the throwing of missiles, the use of flares and supporters encroaching onto the pitch, the Belfast Telegraph has reported.

The move follows a spate of incidents at local football stadiums.

Linfield supporters were told they were to be banned from attending their Irish Premiership match with Newry City after being charged for crowd disorder during a previous match with Glentoran.

A section of their supporters threw missiles onto the pitch in their 3-0 league defeat at the Oval on 14 February. The decision was changed on appeal and the club was instead fined £7,500.

Coleraine were hit with a £200 fine for supporter misconduct after items were thrown at Glentoran goalkeeper, Aaron McCarey, during their 1-0 defeat to Glentoran in December.

Separately, Glentoran condemned what they said was "totally unacceptable" incidents of violence from fans during protests at their home ground after a 1-0 loss to Larne on 15 June.

Six people were also arrested for public order-related offences during the BetMcLean Cup final between Linfield and Coleraine in March.

by Andy Gray, BBC Sport NI

The Irish Premiership has gone from strength to strength in recent seasons, which has been highlighted by ever-growing crowd numbers.

This reflects the league's success, but there have been a number of incidents this season, featuring a number of different clubs, where spectator behaviour has caused negative headlines.

It is important to note than any fan misbehaviour is from a small minority and is not reflective of the majority of Irish League supporters.

The vast majority will show up, rain or shine (mostly rain) and cheer on their team in a way that has helped the league to grow.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Ch Supt Nigel Goddard has said the initiative is to help ensure "football events are safe and welcoming for all".

"We are currently in the early stages of developing a bespoke Northern Ireland Football strategy which will incorporate the use of the national football framework for the policing of football here," he said.

The senior officer said the PSNI are committed to working in partnership with the Irish Football Association, Northern Ireland Football League, local councils and supporters to achieve the strategy.

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