- November 8, 2021
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Trossard vs Manchester City. Inset Paul Barber.
ALBION fans who have been fighting each other and rival supporters have been told to “stay away from our club”.
Chief executive Paul Barber said there had been a “steady deterioration in the behaviour of a small section” of Seagulls’ support this season.
He said a range of “unacceptable behaviour” has already led to 32 exclusions from the Amex Stadium so far this season, which compares with 52 exclusions for the whole of the last full season in 2018/19.
The club is asking all fans to report any antisocial behaviour they see to the nearest steward.
Mr Barber, who has been with the club since 2012, said some fans’ behaviour was “embarrassing to witness” and said the club will look to seek “criminal prosecutions for anyone that puts other supporters or our staff at any kind of risk before, during or after matches at our stadium”.
His stance comes after antisocial behaviour and one incident of racial abuse to an Albion fan during Brighton’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.
He said: “In my last set of notes for Manchester City’s visit here, we outlined our zero-tolerance policy for any kind of discriminatory or antisocial behaviour.
“Despite that warning, a small number of individuals, purporting to support our club, decided to fight each other and, later, fight with visiting supporters – all mindless behaviour which resulted in a number of injuries, ejections and arrests.
“Lengthy bans for all those involved, for both our home and away matches, will certainly follow. Some fans will also face prosecution, and the prospect of a criminal record.”
He said it was “hard to fathom” why behaviour has deteriorated with fans able to enjoy football again and Albion doing so well in the Premier League.
Mr Barber added: “The behaviour of the individuals involved has been as embarrassing to witness as it has been antisocial and unlawful, and we will continue to identify, indefinitely exclude, and seek criminal prosecutions for anyone that puts other supporters or our staff at any kind of risk before, during or after matches at our stadium.
“Zero tolerance means just that. As such, we will be deploying additional stewards and police resources to monitor and counter such behaviour, and we will be using the stadium’s CCTV technology to help identify offenders.
“Thankfully, as ever, the overwhelming majority of Albion supporters continue to grow and enhance the club’s reputation, not least via the fantastic vocal backing we are continuing to receive here at the Amex, and also on the road (highlighted at Anfield last weekend).
“We will not allow this hard-earned reputation to be damaged by a tiny minority, so the message from everyone here is very clear and very simple: if you wish to behave in this way, please stay away from our club.”
Albion take on Newcastle United today at 5.30pm.
The club’s hotline for fans to report antisocial behaviour is 07880 196 442.
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