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Atmosphere and crowd issues at Gigg Lane

On Saturday 22nd January those supporters who smoke we allowed out of the ground at half time. These areas are cordoned off and are outside the gates of both the MRE and Main Stand.

The decision to allow these smoking areas was made to preserve the welfare of the non-smoking supporter by allowing those supporters who choose to smoke to do so in a designated area.

Despite the smoking ban in place at Gigg Lane, every game we have stewarding issues with those that still choose to smoke and disregard the rules to the detriment of both the health of fellow fans and crowd management. Not only does this impact on non-smokers and stewards but there is a risk that the club could receive a fine from the local authority.

Saturday’s trial worked extremely well, with no smoking incidents reported, therefore the cordoned off smoking areas at half time will remain for the rest of the season.

Although the ‘smoking areas’ worked very well, there were still problems raised for match control when smoke bombs were let off in the MRE. Although many supporters believe that these add atmosphere to our games they present risks to the health of others. A steward’s hand was burnt on Saturday while they recovered the device and a fellow FC supporter was hospitalised due to the smoke affecting their sight and some of our younger supporters had to leave the ground due to the smoke affecting their breathing. And unfortunately we have been told that these activities will mean these supporters will not return to FC until they are certain there is no risk to their health. Last season smoke bombs scorched the steps of the MRE and the bill was then passed on to the club and some supporters’ clothing was also scorched from flares.

Clearly these are incidents that we do not want at our games and we want all supporters to be able to watch FC in comfort. Smoke bombs and flares are not permitted in football grounds and supporters are asked not to attempt bringing them into Gigg lane. Anyone found in possession of either will be refused entry. This is not a decision that we take lightly but we believe our supporters can generate sufficient atmosphere without using such items.

In order however that we reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter the club would like to convene a meeting of supporters at our home game on 19th February, at which the club can better explain our position, but importantly supporters can put their side of the undoubted motive of creating a better atmosphere. It is hoped that if successful these meetings can become a regular event. If you are interested in attending such a meeting please email office@fc-utd.uk Depending on the level of interest we will announce further details ahead of the game on the 19th Feb.

First Posted ~ 10:24 Mon 14 Feb 2011
News ID ~ 3376
Last Updated ~ 02:52 Tue 16 Feb 2021