West Ham: Mp Says Club Should Play Behind Closed Doors If Violence Is Repeated
West Ham should be forced to play behind closed doors if the violence that marred Wednesday’s derby with Chelsea is repeated, an MP has said.
Bottles, seats and coins were thrown at London Stadium as hundreds of fans clashed. Seven people were arrested.
It was the latest outbreak of disorder at West Ham’s new ground this season.
“None of these problems were unforeseeable given the nature of the stadium and difficulties with policing large crowds,” said Mark Field MP.
“Within the next 14 days, the West Ham board should present a detailed plan to the Football Association and Premier League outlining what they are going to do about security,” the all-party parliamentary football group vice-chairman told the Evening Standard.
“There have been clear failings. If there is a repeat of the violence, the next two or three home games for West Ham should be played behind closed doors.”
Hammers vice-chairwoman Karren Brady said the club would ban all fans involved in the violence. The club say it is finalising the identification of 200 individuals.
“Football doesn’t want these people and, with over 55,000 supporters on our season ticket waiting list, we certainly don’t need them at West Ham,” she wrote on Twitter.
A spokesperson for the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) – which advises the government on the matter – said it is “monitoring the situation very closely”.
The SGSA also issues licences to 92 football clubs in the Premier League and the English Football League, as well as to Wembley and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
It says it is “aware and involved in issues relating to the London Stadium”, adding: “All partners must act together to prioritise safety.”
The Football Association and English Football League are also investigating. A league spokesman called the incidents “distasteful and unwelcome”.
Previously, the Metropolitan Police have not deployed officers inside the stadium because the radio system emergency services use to communicate will not be operational until 2017. However, security was boosted for Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie.
Police commander BJ Harrington said: “There were a minority of people who attended the match who were clearly intent on being involved in confrontation and violence.
“Despite extensive work with both clubs and a large and robust policing operation, there were unacceptable incidents inside and outside the stadium, before, during and after the game.”