Fans on social media site Twitter have decided to slam Met Police Football Unit’s controversial deleted April Fool’s tweet.
The Metropolitan Police’s Football Unit caused anger among supporters of the beautiful game after a April Fool’s joke said they want big games in London to be held without fans to keep hooliganism down when restrictions are lifted.
Thousands of spectators have been locked out of stadiums for over a year now, apart from a small number of those who were allowed entry due to a drop in Covid cases.
Supporters will be back at elite sports events from the 17th of May if the Government’s easing of lockdown restrictions continues as scheduled with as many as 10,000 supporters allowed at the biggest venues up an down the nation.
The Metropolitan Police’s specialist Football Unit tweeted on Thursday morning that announced they were considering putting ‘high risk fixtures’ permanently behind closed doors from the start of next season.
The tweet read: ‘Due to the reduction of football related crime in London since behind closed doors fixtures commenced we are submitting new legislation to government outlining the benefits of empty stadia which will allow us to nominate high risk fixtures to be played BCD (behind closed doors) from the 21/22 season’.
The post, which was quickly deleted by the Met Police Football Unit’s account, immediately brought in criticism from Premier League, EFL and non league fans on social media.
Some fans chose to slam Met Police Football Unit’s controversial deleted April Fool’s tweet, though there was some defending it too…
@LuisJohnH: @MPSFootballUnit has your boss told you to pack it in?
@JayMcKenna87: Even with no fans, football policing units would still find ways to self-justify their budgets and trips to foreign countries. Though given the over the top policing of football, it probably wasn’t an April Fool’s
@JoeblottJoe: Not funny, not clever and insulting to football fans. Assumed behaviour shows complete lack of understanding their role like to help, support, assist, plan, organise. Mind you, should I expect anything else from the Met given recent events
@steviejft96: No mention of their own behaviour joe. Classic police/ Tory diversion tactics.
@CFCCath: Obv zero need for them to be employed then … from what I hear they’ve been busy during lockdown knocking on people’s doors…
@PenegalLTFC: ACAB forever and always
@simonwestcake: Thatcher composing tweets from beyond the grave
@Andy_Craig: What the…?
@garytaphouse: About as funny as a kidney infection
@DJWestgarth: To be fair football fans are knobheads and this could do with being implemented
@NathRNath: I know this is an April Fools joke but the way the world is going I could see it being true!
@fey_jason: If anyone fools for this then God help them and you for the abuse you will get
@PhilKierman: @FairCop_ What’s this all about then? Looks like it’s now been removed but shocking if true @MPSFootballUnit
@rob_crane: Scheme is already being trialled in Milton Keynes.
@ForeverAYellow: I get that it’s a joke, but come on that was bad taste like, expected better or at least for the Met Police Twitter account to at least stay professional rather than making a cheap dig at football fans so that they can just simply ‘get in on the act’. Didn’t make me laugh this time boys
NEW LIMITS FROM MAY 17
Indoor venues will be allowed to admit up to a maximum of 1,000 spectators, or half their capacity if that figure is lower.
For outdoor events, there will be a maximum of 4,000 fans allowed, or half a venue’s capacity (whichever figure is lower).
However, at the biggest stadiums, such as Wembley, a maximum of 10,000 fans will be allowed, or a quarter of capacity (whichever figure is lower).
At the biggest stadiums, with a capacity above 16,000, such as Wembley and Premier League football grounds, a maximum of 10,000 fans will be allowed, or a quarter of capacity (whichever figure is lower).
A recent report reveals which clubs supporters were among the top 20 most arrests at football matches for the 2019/20 season.
The Home Office has released data, hate crime from the start to the end of the previous campaign rose from 193 to 287, almost a 50 per cent increase, despite matches being played behind closed doors for the later stage.
Hate crimes against sexual orientation more than doubled, from 37 in 2018/19 to 78 last season.
Race hate crimes, meanwhile, increased from 152 to 214.
The number of new banning orders issued was also down, but again year-on-year comparisons can’t really be made.
A Home Office spokesperson told the PA news agency: “Hate crime has no place in football or anywhere else and we must all come together to confront it.
“The increase shown in these statistics is partly down to better recording and awareness, but we have no complacency in stamping out this evil from the game.
“We are bringing forward legislation to force social media companies to remove racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse and we are working closer than ever before with the football authorities to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Whilst, the UK’s football policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, described the hate crime data as “incredibly concerning”.
“We want to see this behaviour eradicated from football,” he said in a statement released to the PA news agency.
“We are working closely with Kick it Out, the Premier League and other partners, with a concerted effort to tackle hate crime both in the stadium and online.
“It is important the clubs and the leagues continue to ensure the police are made aware of all incidents so local forces can work with them to tackle the incidents as they occur.
“We are also working to help tackle the causes of hate crime, with a mixture of education, helping those involved to understand the harm it causes, and diversionary activities for young supporters.
“This will remain a focus until we are able to eliminate this vile behaviour and ensure a safe and friendly space for everyone to support and enjoy football.”