Last night’s Carling Cup tie between West Ham and Millwall was overshadowed as clashes saw one man stabbed amid disorder outside Upton Park. The game itself, which the Hammers won 3-1 in extra time, was also disrupted by pitch invasions.
“The FSF opposes all forms of violence and we hope an appropriate investigation finds out what happened and takes the proper action,” said FSF chair Malcolm Clarke. “This is a serious incident and, like the vast majority of West Ham and Millwall supporters, we condemn the scenes we have seen which were entirely unacceptable.”
“However the last four years of Home Office figures show that violence is decreasing, you are safer at football than at any time for decades, and we should not forget this.”
This story will be big news, which in itself shows how rare these incidents now are, and the overwhelming majority will find the scenes as depressing as we do. The latest Home Office figures showed that 37 million fans attended football matches in England and Wales last year with only 3,842 arrests made – one in every 10,000 fans.
Most arrests at football tend to be related to alcohol consumption, pitch incursions and public order offences with only one in 10 made for acts of violence. The majority of offences take place away from stadiums meaning less than half a fan per game, per stadium was arrested inside a football ground on last year’s figures.
The FSF does not tolerate violence and in no way condones the actions of the mindless few who spoil things for the many but we shouldn’t forget - violence is society’s problem too, not just football’s.
UPDATE – After all the negative coverage following Tuesday night’s depressing scenes we’re glad to hear of some positive news involving followers of the Hammers and Lions. Fans of both clubs will meet tomorrow (Saturday, August 29th, FlandersPlaying Fields, E6 2RU – 10.30am kick off) for a friendly match arranged to show solidarity and build bridges between supporters.
The game has been arranged by our friends at the Internet Football Association (IFA) who’ve been running since 1996. The IFA arrange an annual tournament too which sees around 80 teams from all over the UK, Europe and Africa competing for the WorldNET Cup.
If you’d like to hear more about tomorrow’s game or the IFA’s annual tournament contact them via the Internet Football Association website.
Well done to all involved.