Crackdown on away fans at Sunderland could see more ticket restrictions in place at Stadium of Light
Away fans could face more restrictions on matches a the Stadium of Light after city leaders left the door open to more measures.
Sunderland City Council agreed to impose a limit on the number of tickets available for Portsmouth and Coventry City fans for their fixtures on Wearside in the 2019/20 season.
The ticket cap, imposed by the council’s regulatory committee on July 1, was prompted by ‘discussions’ between Northumbria Police and the football club after league matches against Coventry and Pompey at the end of last season were marred by fan disturbances.
Following the Regulatory Committee’s decision, the cap applies only to the League One games Sunderland will host against last season’s promotion rivals.
But police and council chiefs have said they would be prepared to extend it to any cup or play-off ties if they thought it necessary.
Coun Rebecca Atkinson, the city council’s cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration said: “The allocation of away tickets for every league game is assessed on a case-by-case basis by the club in conjunction with the local authority and Northumbria Police.
“The away ticket allocation for additional matches, such as cup competitions and play-off matches, is subject to further discussion with the club and Northumbria Police as appropriate.”
Northumbria Police said it would not consider whether to seek further limits on ticket allocations until any possible future fixtures are confirmed.
The Regulatory Committee heard this included the use of pyrotechnics and the throwing of missiles, such as bottles and coins.
Some members suggested the Stadium of Light’s away section Light should be moved to a lower area of the ground, with Coun Doris MacKnight recalling a fellow councillor who ‘had a pie thrown at him’ by a visiting fan shortly after it was moved to its current position.
The EFL has confirmed the away fans cap did not break any rules on ticket allocations.
Contacted about the ticket restrictions, Sunderland and Portsmouth FC declined to comment, while Coventry City FC did not respond.
Contacted about the possibility of Sunderland fans being hit with similar restrictions, Portsmouth City Council and Birmingham City Council, which is responsible for safety arrangements at the St Andrews Stadium where Coventry City will be playing ‘home’ ties next season, did not respond.