Long says football offences laws needed after Cliftonville official is hit

Alliance Sports Spokesperson Cllr Michael Long has said that last night’s events at the Linfield – Cliftonville match, where an official was hit by a bottle underlines the need for football offences type legislation in Northern Ireland so that thugs can be punished. Cliftonville Director of Team Affairs Gerard Lawlor was hit as he walked with the Cliftonville Manager Eddie Patterson in front of Windsor Park’s Kop Stand.

Castlereagh Councillor Michael Long, who is Chair of the Alliance Party said: “This was a sickening incident that has again cast shame on local football. This act illustrates the need for strong football offences-style laws to combat all forms of trouble at matches.

“The vast majority of fans here hate the small number of thugs who spoil the game. Prejudice and violence have no place in our society and should have no place in local sport.

“Thugs need to be banned from the terraces, but there is currently no provision for doing so. Laws similar to those in place in other parts of the UK are needed here to give the authorities the power to rid football of these individuals.

“We at Alliance have campaigned for such laws for many years and we will keep the pressure on Minister Gregory Campbell until he creates them. Local football has enough trouble trying to attract bigger crowds without more people being put off attending because of violence. We need strong laws to protect supporters and help boost the sport here.”


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