Next Game: Pre-Season Friendly - Melksham Town Away on Saturday 7th July

Monday, October 03, 2016

Club Statement - FA Investigation Into Fan Behaviour

The club have released the following statement after 'totally unacceptable behaviour of one or two supporters' at recent matches.

Here is the statement in full from the official site: 

Hereford FC Chief Executive, Ken Kinnersley, has today expressed his disappointment that the club are currently under investigation by the Football Association (FA) after incidents involving a minority of the club’s fans at a recent FA Cup tie.

He has also explained that club officials are very concerned about a recent increase in complaints the club has received about the behaviour of a small minority of ‘supporters’ at matches.

Speaking this morning, Kinnersley said:

‘It is with considerable regret that Hereford FC has to advise the vast majority of genuine Bulls supporters that the football club is again under investigation by the Football Association as a result of the actions of a small number of people.

‘The FA investigation specifically relates to the away fixture at Romulus FC in the Emirates FA Cup match at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 3 September, and it is incredibly disappointing that so early in a new season, and having been promoted up the pyramid, our club is again under the spotlight due to the actions of a few who seem completely unable to exercise any self-discipline.

‘Answering an FA investigation takes a lot of work and an incredible amount of staff time – especially when trying to deal with the indefensible actions of people who are unable to exercise self control.

‘In addition to the FA investigation, of equal concern to everyone here at Edgar Street is the fact that in recent weeks we have also received a considerable number of complaints from individuals about the behaviour of some of the club’s ‘supporters’.

‘These complaints have come from fans attending games at Edgar Street, supporters travelling to support the team away from home, independent fans, and also from fans of our opponents at some recent away matches in the FA Cup.

‘Due to the diverse range of fans that have made contact with the club, we do give credence to these complaints because they are all so very similar in their experiences and the concerns expressed.

‘Sadly, it appears that the small group of individuals involved in causing problems are people who are repeatedly unable to control themselves at matches, or, even more worryingly, are intent on bringing attention to themselves for the wrong reasons. The behaviour being reported to us makes it clear that they cannot be classed as real supporters of this club.

‘The complaints raised in recent weeks relate to the following issues:

1 – Obscene language being shouted and / or included in songs

2 – Drunkenness or affected by substance abuse

3 – Aggressive behaviour leading to violence

4 – Causing damage to property

5 – Specific discriminatory and obscene comments including sexist remarks to a female official and racist comments to visiting players.

6 – Pitch incursions

‘Due to the complaints we have received recently, we were watching the behaviour of supporters at Tonbridge on Saturday very closely and sadly there seemed to be a number of fans who arrived at the Longmead Stadium in a state that suggested their behaviour was influenced by alcohol, or possibly substance abuse, to the point they were unable to control their behaviour.

‘Hereford FC officials quickly consulted with police officers in attendance at the match to make them aware and we understand that at least one Hereford supporter was ejected from the ground.

‘At Tonbridge – and many other grounds – fan segregation is not enforced because the clubs see football as enjoyable entertainment for all the family. As a result the home and away fans are free to watch the match from any part of the stadium and it goes without saying that parents and accompanying children should be perfectly entitled to expect to watch the match free from “loutish” behaviour.

‘Sadly, we do have reports of families being forced to move away from their usual area of the ground due to the behaviour of some of our fans. This is simply unacceptable, as parents should not be forced to remove their children – in some cases completely out of the stadium – because a small number of visitors do not have the decency to behave in a responsible and respectful way.

‘Drunkenness is no excuse for committing an illegal act and neither is it a reason for engaging in obscene language, aggressive behaviour, fighting or damaging signs – as happened at Tonbridge on Saturday.

‘Due to recent events, and in consultation with our police liaison officer and matchday stewards’ supervisor, we will now be reviewing the measures we can take to ensure we deal effectively with all who attend Hereford FC matches, both home and away.

‘Any additional measures we take will, no doubt, cost money that we would rather put to more positive use elsewhere, but we are determined not to allow the behaviour of a few to put at risk the reputation of Hereford FC, the comfort and enjoyment of other supporters, or the efforts of the team on the pitch.

‘I am confident that most of our fantastic fans will understand and accept any inconvenience they may be caused as a result of the measures we may be forced to implement as a consequence of recent complaints.

“Anyone who is identified as misbehaving either at Edgar Street or any ground hosting Hereford FC will be subject to a lengthy Edgar Street banning order. Hereford FC is determined to address the issue of unacceptable behaviour and we are no longer willing to offer any individuals further chances.

‘Finally, it must be set out very clearly that the overwhelming majority of our fans conduct themselves in a manner that brings nothing but credit to Hereford FC and we are hugely grateful for that support – it is just incredibly sad that a tiny majority seem intent on dragging the club’s name down simply because they cannot control themselves.’

Further details of the additional measures the club will be looking to introduce are expected later this week.