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Football fans face ban from grounds
FOOTBALL fans who cause trouble at Darlington FC games will be issued with anti-social behaviour orders and banned from all Northern League games, say police.
The warning follows isolated incidents of violence at several Quakers matches this season.
Officials have praised the behaviour of the majority of fans but police have been called twice to away games involving the club, first at Dunston UTS last month and at Billingham Town on Saturday.
Chief Inspector Chris Reeves, from Durham Police, said: “There have been no instances of large scale disorder at the Heritage Park ground, although there have been a number of isolated incidents involving a small number of Darlington supporters, one of which took place at the Billingham ground.
“We are keen to stamp this behaviour out, so we are working with the club with a view to banning the supporters who were involved in this incident from the Darlington ground, and to obtain antisocial behaviour orders to ban them from all Northern League grounds.”
Northern League chairman Mike Amos last night welcomed the stance being taken by the police.
However, he said it could be difficult to keep the troublemakers out of games, adding: “It’s one thing keeping them out of Darlington home games when these people are known and there are stewards and possibly police.
“It’s rather another trying to enforce it at games where they are not known and where there maybe are no stewards and certainly no police.”
Mr Amos said league officials would talk to the police about enforcing anti-social behaviour orders.
A fight among Darlington fans delayed the kick-off by about ten minutes on Saturday.
Police were called but no one was arrested.
Mr Amos added: “While the four or five people involved last Saturday created extremely unpleasant scenes for about a minute, once the game started the behaviour of the fans was exemplary.
“In my view, some good can come out of this, with 99.9 per cent of Quakers fans determined to ensure their club is a fans’ club and a family club.”
The club, which is playing in the Northern League after being demoted four divisions by the FA, confirmed it was working with police to identify the troublemakers.
A spokesman said the club was grateful for the support of police and the Northern League to tackle the issue.