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SBD Global/April 15, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FA To Review Wembley Stadium Policing After Millwall Fans Brawl At Saturday's FA Cup

Fans brawl during Saturday's FA Cup semifinal between League Championship sides Millwall and Wigan.
The FA may change the way high-risk matches at London's Wembley stadium are policed "as part of the ongoing inquest into the serious unrest" among fans of League Championship club Millwall "that marred" Saturday's FA Cup semifinal against Wigan Athletic, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. FA General Secretary Alex Horne said the scenes of bloody violence in the Millwall end were "deplorable." It was "unlikely to have been the image the FA wanted to project to the world in a week when it claimed the competition had been fully revived." Horne "vowed to work with police to review the events, which resulted in 14 people being arrested." However, while no one could have predicted that the Millwall fans would turn on each other, the FA "will also face questions of its own over the kick-off time and the apparent delay in police officers arriving on the scene as the situation smouldered for over half an hour during the second half" (GUARDIAN, 4/14). In London, Steve Tongue reported Millwall "pledged to identify and ban the thugs." Millwall CEO Andy Ambler said, "Anyone associated with our club found guilty of violent behavior will be banned indefinitely from Millwall matches in addition to any punishment they receive from the authorities" (INDEPENDENT, 4/14).

'OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE': In London, Daniel Taylor reported TV footage "showed bloodied Millwall fans brawling with each other, one being stamped on and another with a police officer's hat that had been knocked off during the trouble." Millwall Manager Kenny Jackett said that the club was "doing all they could to rid themselves of a long-standing problem." Jackett: "That has been our greatest challenge. We want to try to work hard to keep momentum going. If crowd trouble is going to be continually brought up with Millwall it will hold us back" (GUARDIAN, 4/13). Also in London, Mark Ogden reported the wisdom of allowing the tie to kick-off at 5:15pm "is likely to come under scrutiny, with many supporters freely drinking in the immediate vicinity of the stadium prior to the game." A decision to allow tickets for the game to go on general sale "will also be questioned, particularly with Millwall’s supporters being tainted by a reputation for trouble" (TELEGRAPH, 4/13).

MORE VIOLENCE: In London, Young & Mokbel reported fans of Premier League side Newcastle United "went on the rampage in the city centre on Sunday following Sunderland’s shock 3-0 win at St James’ Park." In scenes "reminiscent of the dark days of football riots in England" in the '70s and '80s, fans "clashed with police." There were 27 arrests and "dozens more are expected in the coming days as police study CCTV images of the rioting," which forced Newcastle Central Station to be closed (DAILY MAIL, 4/14).
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