Portsmouth and Coventry fans face ticket restrictions for Sunderland matches at the Stadium of Light

Away ticket sales for two key clashes at the Stadium of Light next season could be capped by city bosses.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 14:04 pm
The Stadium of Light. Picture by PA/Richard Sellers

Visiting fans from Portsmouth and Coventry could be limited to just 2,000 and 1,500, respectively, when they next head to Sunderland ‘in an effort to reduce the risk to public safety’.

Games against both sides at the Stadium of Light saw disturbances in the 2018/19 season.

The proposed restrictions have been set out in a report for members of Sunderland City Council’s Regulatory Committee, which is expected to confirm permission for the Black Cats to stage home games for the 2019/20 season.

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The Stadium of Light’s General Safety Certificate is due to be renewed at a meeting on July 1.

A maximum capacity of 48,339 for non-segregated matches and 48,095 for segregated ties has been recommended.

The numbers are unchanged from last year, which also charged the club £12,250 for the accreditation – the same price it has paid since 2000.

But, following disturbances at last year’s fixtures, it has been suggested games against last year’s promotion rivals Portsmouth and Coventry should see restrictions placed on travelling fans.

According to a report for councillors: “This reduced number of visiting fans is set at a level which the Club through their safety management plans feel confident in being able to observe safety concerns.”

It adds: “It was noted at the fixtures held during the 2018/2019 football season that the behaviour of the visiting fans from Coventry City FC and Portsmouth FC caused the public safety of the attendees of the match to be compromised.”

Sunderland are due to play Portsmouth at home on August 17 and Coventry City on November 23.

The plans, which were suggested following ‘discussions’ with Northumbria Police, authorise the club to ‘take all necessary precautions for the reasonable safety of spectators at these games’.

Sunderland played Portsmouth twice at home at the end of last season – drawing 1-1 in the league and winning 1-0 in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

In their only home fixture against Coventry, the Black Cats were beaten 4-5.