Crystal Palace back new campaign against flares and smoke bombs

Croydon Guardian: Charlton fans light flares against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park Charlton fans light flares against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

A campaign launched to raise awareness about the dangers of pyrotechnics at football grounds has been backed by Crystal Palace Football Club.

The Premier League, Football League and the Football Association are launching the campaign following a fan survey.

The survey found that 87 per cent believe that pyrotechnics such as flares and smoke bombs are dangerous at matches and 86 per cent were concerned for their safety.

Fans also think flares are a fire risk and a health hazard.

A nationwide poster campaign has been launched which highlights that it is illegal to enter a football ground with pyrotechnics.

Supporters risk jail and banning orders if they are caught in possession of one.

In 2010/11 there were just eight incidents of flares and smoke bombs across all five divisions but last season there were 172 incidents.

Croydon Guardian: The campaign wants to encourage fans not to bring flares into grounds

The campaign wants to encourage fans not to bring flares into grounds

Earlier in February Charlton fans lit flares in the away end at Selhurst Park and broke seats during Palace’s 2-1 win.

Palace fans have also been caught up in the flare row though with pyrotechnics going off when the Eagles played Watford at Vicarage Road last season and against Liverpool at Anfield this season.

Crystal Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett holds a firm stance on the issue and has called on fans to take other people’s welfare into account before letting off a flare or a smoke bomb.

He said: “Letting off pyrotechnics in the confined spaces of a football stadium can be dangerous and it is also frightening for many people – especially children.

“Fans need to be aware that the vast majority of fellow supporters don’t want to breathe in smoke and hear loud explosions at football matches.

“It is also illegal with the high risk of a banning order, criminal record and even a custodial sentence.”

Cathy Long, Head of Supporter Services at the Premier League, said: “We have launched this education campaign because we want fans to be fully aware of the dangers of pyrotechnics and realise the harm they can cause to other supporters.

“Pyrotechnics are not innocent fun, they can be very dangerous and there are victims.

“Fans, club staff and match officials have already been injured, some of them severely, and supporters who bring them are doing so illegally and can face jail and long bans. We don’t want that, we just want everyone to be safe and able to still come to the game.”

For more information visit facepyrofacts.co.uk.

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