Stoke suspend Away Card system

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Stoke City have announced the Away Card system for their travelling supporters is to be suspended.

The card was introduced in 2003 and since that time any supporters wishing to attend a Stoke City away game has had to hold a valid Away Card.

Stoke City chief executive Tony Scholes said: "Recently, some of the key benefits of the Away Card have been eroded and I cannot accept that there is now a valid argument for retaining the card and our supporters being treated any differently than those of any other club. We have therefore decided to suspend the operation of the card."

"The card was introduced five years ago for particular reasons, however the situation which existed when the card was brought in is not the situation of the Club today.

"I am delighted to be in a position where we can suspend the Away Card, because it shows how far the Club and its supporters have come over the past five years."

And the Potter’s announcement has been applauded by Football Supporters’ Federation Chairman Malcolm Clark – a Stoke City supporter himself.

"I applaud the club for taking this brave decision - it is now up to supporters to prove it was the right one, and behave in a way which is a tribute to themselves and to Stoke City FC”, Clarke said.

"The theory was Away Cards cards would lead to better treatment for travelling Stoke fans, given that we’d all been vetted and would stand to lose these cards if involved in any trouble.

"Sadly though, in my opinion, the real psychological position of many stewards and police instead became 'this club’s supporters must be bad that they have to have some sort of id card, so we'd better treat them accordingly', I'm glad to see the back of it."