Lyttle: We must be united in support of football for all

Alliance sports spokesperson Chris Lyttle has called for politicians and the local community to unite in its support of the on-going cross community work being carried out by the football community.

The Belfast MLA spoke after Saturday’s planned Crusaders-Cliftonville match was postponed amidst an un-notified protest, saying there must be a unified response in condemning the unacceptable disruption.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I fully support the work of both Crusaders and Cliftonville Football Clubs, in co-operation with the IFA Football For All programme, elected representatives, local residents and the PSNI, to ensure measures were in place to make this sporting event a safe, inclusive and successful Irish Premiership football match.

“These measures even included a planned cross-community walk to the football ground. However this good work was disrupted by another un-notified and disruptive protest, which leaders must make clear have to stop.

“I will engage with underlying issues of protest and legitimate concerns of anyone, but no cause whatsoever will be served by protests that disrupt and involve illegal behaviour at non-political, cross-community sporting events.

“I call on all elected representatives to make clear their rejection of illegal behaviour and full support for the rule of law in Northern Ireland so our society, our businesses and sporting events can function free from the fear or reality of intimidation and harm.

“The Irish Football Association and Irish league clubs must be supported in their excellent cross-community work in delivering football for all.”

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