Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has admitted he is worried about a potential rise in fans throwing objects at players after safe standing was introduced at some venues, including the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham’s home ground was one of five arenas in England selected by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to trial safe standing.
The North London club confirmed ahead of their FA Cup third-round clash against Morecambe that supporters in the lower half of the south stand would be allowed to stand.
The FA Cup tie on Sunday went ahead without any crowd incident, but there have been some regrettable developments in other stadiums across the country in the past week.
Millwall have identified two fans who threw missiles at Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise during the FA Cup tie between the two sides on Saturday while Hull City are investigating similar incidents during their game with Everton.
While Hackett admitted the problem in England with respect to fans throwing projectiles is not as bad as other parts of Europe, he insisted it was still a concern amidst the introduction of safe standing.
When asked about a section of the fans being allowed to stand at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and other grounds, he told Football Insider: “There are people who go to a football match who historically prefer to stand, it’s a part of their afternoon.
“The clubs are making an effort and it looks as though the safe standing is safe, which is the first thing.
“But it does give the avenue of a fan to throw an object. We’re pretty good in England, against Europe. I’m not exaggerating it.
“We’re just on a bit of a run of it. In Europe, it’s smoke bombs, fireworks, Roman candles, it’s those sorts of things.
“That’s why I take a reserved, conservative view which is stop it [throwing objects] now before it’s almost unmanageable.”
“Ok, it’s at the experimental stage and there doesn’t appear to be any major issues.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I can see where Hacket is coming from but I do not think the concern about projectiles being thrown should be used as an argument against safe standing.
Clubs and authorities should enforce stringent punishment (including lifetime bans) for those who hurl objects onto the pitch in order to stamp out the behaviour.
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