By DAVID BLACKMORE
Monday, December 10, 2012
The sight of blood running down the face of Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester derby on Sunday has ignited calls for netting to be introduced to stop fans throwing objects at players.
Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor believes the incident shows there is a case for putting netting up around areas of the pitch for the protection of players.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think you’ve got to give consideration to possibly, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags.”
But Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), said putting netting up to prevent missiles being thrown at players would be a “knee-jerk reaction”.
He added he hoped supporters would become more self-policing and that peer pressure would also prevent fans throwing coins.
There have been similar incidents where players have had to cower under a hailstorm of bottles and coins, including one at Carrow Road last year.
During Norwich City’s match against Reading last February, assistant referee Adrian Sannerude was hit of the side of the head by a lighter thrown from the crowd.
The incident happened in the 77th minute during the tense finale to the match against the Royals before Grant Holt scored Norwich City’s late winner.
Reading defender Ian Harte - who had been jeered by the crowd during the game after a controversial incident between the teams when they met in November - was preparing to take a throw-in in front of the visiting fans.
Other incidents include Craig Bellamy suffering in another clash between the Manchester rivals, when they met in the Carling Cup semi-final in 2010. He fell to the ground after being hit in the back of the head whilst taking a corner kick for City.
Earlier this season, Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was attacked in the face by a Leeds fan who burst onto the pitch. The incident occurred shortly after Kirkland conceded an equaliser at Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium.
Controversy also erupted in October this year when a steward required pitch-side treatment after a number of objects, including the back of a chair, were launched onto the pitch during a match between Chelsea and Manchester United.
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