After the issues during our recent fixture against Tranmere Rovers and ahead of this weekends match against Sutton United the Club would like to update supporters on the current situation and new procedures moving forward.
The Club has responded in writing to the Football Association and the Football League following the referee’s report and we await their decision on possible sanctions. The Football Association have expectations on how the Club deal with issues such as those seen against Tranmere. There are 3 key steps that we are expected to meet in order for our case to be considered more favourably, these are.
- How the Club reacts on the day to the situation.
- The response from the Club after the event.
- The action taken against offenders and planning for the next game.
The referee was satisfied with our response during the match and the Club reacted quickly with two statements condemning the actions of a small minority in the South Stand. The third point will be covered this weekend, and it is important that all supporters are aware of the measures that will be in place for the next two matches. Details of these measures are below.
Match Day Search Procedures
All supporters should understand that as part of the existing ground regulations you could be searched on the day. This can be either a pat down search or a search with a magnetic wand. In all cases you will be asked your permission to be searched however, should you refuse then the Club can refuse entry.
Drug/Pyro Detection Dogs
There will be several drug and pyrotechnic detection dogs on duty. When arriving please ignore the dogs and do not touch them. The handler will give you instructions and you should follow these. If the dog indicates, you will be asked if you give permission to be searched in the presence of a Police Officer and should you refuse then entry will be refused.
100% of bags will be searched and from this weekend no ruck sacks will be permitted. A carrier bag or a bag no bigger than a piece of A4 paper in size will be admitted. Should you need to bring a larger bag for medical or personal reasons please print and complete the bag exemption form which can be found on the website and bring this form with you on the day. A supervisor will ensure your bag is searched and then sign your form. This form will be retained for copying and will be available for collection from Club reception after the match. This form must then be presented to the security staff at the turnstiles prior to every match for the bag to be permitted. A copy of the form can also be downloaded by clicking here.
It is the responsibility of the bag owners to store their large bags not that of the Club as there will be no secure storage areas on site on the day.
Opening Time/Early Arrival
It should be remembered that these extra measures will take time and therefore turnstiles will open at 13:45 and fans are advised that arriving after 14:45 will probably mean you miss kick-off. We would encourage fans to enter the queues no later than 14:30 to avoid disappointment.
Abuse of Staff
These extra measures are now in place because of the reckless actions of a small minority and will hopefully prevent the Club receiving a large fine. The staff are there for your safety and should any member of staff receive abuse because of the processes in place the entry will be refused, and a Stadium ban will be issued for 3 matches to the offender. Police Officers will be located at turnstiles to support the security staff and stewards.
Should any supporter be observed in possession of a pyrotechnic, throwing missiles or entering the field of play the Club will now, in line with all other EFL clubs issue a 12-month stadium ban to the offender and will push for a prosecution under the Football Offences Act 1991. Several offenders from the last match have been identified and the bans are currently being processed, those involved will be notified shortly.
Small children are the responsibility of the adult who has brought them into the ground. Several very small children younger than 10 are seen throwing missiles on CCTV from the last match. If there is a repeat the adult who obtained their ticket will face a stadium ban for failing to control the child’s behaviour.
Finally, we would like to apologise to our genuine supporters who due to these reckless actions are going to be impacted. This is not what we, as a Club, want and we hope that you understand that without us taking these actions the implications for the club could be huge with possible fines, closures of the stands affected, behind closed doors matches or even points deductions.