Football: Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) chairman Malcolm Clarke has warned against “knee-jerk reactions” to fan trouble at Sunday’s Manchester derby at Eastlands.
Nine people have been charged after the match, after which several supporters ran on to the pitch and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was hit in the face by a coin thrown from the crowd.
One fan has been charged with a racially aggravated public order and two with encroaching on the pitch.
The disturbances prompted Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor to suggest that it might be necessary to introduce netting around pitches to protect players.
“I think you’ve got to consider, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas,” said Taylor. “It could be behind the goals and round the corner flags.”
However Clarke said that arrests at football matches were receding dramatically.
“Netting is not something we feel is necessary to have,” he said. “No-one condones the throwing of missiles, but arrests last season were 24 per cent down on previous seasons and not many social phenomenon alter that much.
“It is undoubtedly improving and before we start making knee-jerk reactions to particular incidents we ought to bear that in mind.”
Fans’ behaviour remains in the spotlight, however, with Norwich confirming today that they have reported four separate incidents of actual or alleged racism towards their defender Sebastien Bassong.
The allegations relate to Norwich’s away matches against Everton on November 24 and the 4-3 win at Swansea on Saturday.
A Swansea fan was released on bail on Sunday after being arrested during the game for allegedly making racist gestures towards Bassong as he celebrated a goal with his team-mates.
Norwich have confirmed the other three cases involved racist messages being sent to the defender on Twitter after both the Swansea match and the 1-1 draw at Everton.
A statement issued by the club read: “Norwich City regrets to confirm four separate cases involving actual or alleged racist abuse aimed at our defender Sebastien Bassong have been reported to police in the last two weeks.
“Following a complaint made by Sebastien to referee Howard Webb during last Saturday’s 4-3 Barclays Premier League win at Swansea, a man in the home section of the crowd was arrested and later charged in relation to alleged racist abuse.
“We would like to thank both Swansea City FC and South Wales Police for their swift and effective handling of this unfortunate incident.”
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