Cllr Michael Long, who is Chair of the Alliance Party said: “The banning of the Boxing Day match is not the right decision. We need to instead rid the game of the very small minority of thugs who want to cause trouble.
“In order to ban and prosecute fighting fans, we need legislation similar to the Football Offences Act put in place here. Other parts of the UK have these laws, so I cannot understand why Northern Ireland is slow in creating and implementing them.
“Alliance has been campaigning for a long time to have legislation of this nature here. How many more violent incidents at matches will it take to get the Northern Ireland Office to act?
“Banning the Boxing Day matches between Linfield and Glentoran for two years will not combat the thugs but will instead hurt local football. These two clubs will now miss out on their biggest gate receipts of the season. This is an own goal. Fighting fans should be given the red card, not the Boxing Day derby.”