The friendly face of football
NO arrests had to be made at last weekend’s Muratti in what organisers are calling the most successful inter-island football match ever to be held in Jersey.
Security staff, States and honorary police and officers from Guernsey’s force – who were temporarily given powers to arrest people in Jersey – all worked to ensure that the trouble of two years ago was not repeated.
In 2016, 30 fans were ejected from Springfield Stadium and four were arrested after rival supporters clashed during and after the game.
This year, in an effort to curb anti-social behaviour, the bar at the site was closed for the duration of the match and anyone leaving the ground during the game was not allowed back in.
The layout of the event was also changed to prevent opposing fans from mixing and door staff were put on duty at several bars between the Harbour and Springfield.
Chief Inspector Mark Coxshall said that months of planning had gone into ensuring the event ran smoothly.
‘We did quite a few things differently and we worked with the Jersey Football Association to ensure their planning was tip-top,’ he said.
‘The layout of the stadium was changed to ensure fans were properly segregated and there was no alcohol served during the game.
‘We had no arrests at all which is a great result, I think it’s a really good news story.’
Chief Insp Coxshall added that they had also worked with licensees to ensure that order was maintained in bars and pubs.
‘We also wanted to make sure that places which had al fresco areas were controlled properly and we received really good support with that – one licensee even took away all his chairs and tables so they could not be thrown,’ he said.
‘Many licensees along the route from the Harbour to the stadium put on private security during the day and we also brought over some of our Guernsey colleagues and gave them sworn powers [powers of arrest].’
Neville Davidson, chief executive of the Jersey Football Association, said that he was extremely pleased with how the event went and that they hoped to implement similar plans for future games.
However, the security measures did attract criticism from some fans who said that they had impacted on the atmosphere at the game, which finished 1-0 to Jersey.
In response, Mr Davidson admitted that the atmosphere may have been more subdued than previous games but he said it may have been caused by the standard of play.
‘I do not think it was the most eventful game ever, Jersey seemed to be in control for most of the 90 minutes. The crowd was not very boisterous,’ he said. ‘There were enough people in the grandstand to generate an atmosphere – you cannot blame the atmosphere on the segregation.’