Football fans are facing reduced allocations and more draconian policing methods due to late kick offs.
In a post-match report, Norfolk Police said they would request that United fans get fewer tickets next season when they play at Norwich, after they experienced problems at a 5.30pm kick off.
The latest example of police using late kick offs to punish fans collectively is the Huddersfield v Hull match at 5.20pm on Saturday March 30.
West Yorkshire Police have restricted Hull’s allocation to 1,500 tickets – even though Leeds got 4,000 for a fixture there earlier this season.
They have also ruled that Hull fans can only get into the ground if they board coaches in Hull, creating a bizarre situation where Hull fans living in Huddersfield have to go to and from Hull just to watch the game.
Despite deploying the coach ‘bubble’ tactic, West Yorkshire Police are categorising the game at the top ‘CIR’ category, giving officers permission to police the game according to their judgement, using riot gear, police dogs and other methods if needed.
It has also been alleged that police have ordered Huddersfield to make it a category A game for ticket prices, despite the club wanting to make it a category C game – £5 cheaper for most fans.
A Hull fan has taken steps towards legally challenging the police’s decision and Huddersfield fans’ groups are trying to ease police restrictions.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, have been told that the game must take place at 5.20pm for television, otherwise they could face a fine or points deduction.
Reds Away editor Dale Haslam said: “It is deeply concerning that West Yorkshire Police seem to have set the safety restrictions for this game without going through the local council’s safety advisory group, which is ultimately responsible for safety at football games in the area.
“At that meeting, they would have had to demonstrate clear intelligence to justify the draconian level of policing they are proposing to implement for this game.”
He added: “Whether we or the decision-making authorities like it or not, some games will kick off late, but it is unfair to say that this will lead to problems unless there is clear and overwhelming evidence of this happening before between the two sets of fans.
“It is key that police and other authorities strive to work with clubs and fans’ group throughout the decision-making progress so everyone gets the best outcome, rather than the police shouting the odds and expecting fans not to feel alienated.”