Norwich City and Ipswich Town to issue stadium bans to ‘grossly abusive’ fans on social media
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Norwich City and Ipswich Town Football Clubs are joining forces to take action against abusive social media users in the build-up to the East Anglian derby.
Both clubs have announced they will be issuing stadium bans to supporters posting 'grossly offensive, abusive or discriminatory material' on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms ahead of the match at Carrow Road on Sunday, February 18.
It is not yet known how long the bans will be in place for.
The decision comes after several offensive posts were made about Justin Fashanu and Sir Bobby Robson ahead of the last derby clash in October, which led to two supporters being banned from Portman Road.
Steve Stone, Managing Director of Norwich City Football Club, told the Club's official website: 'The East Anglian derby is one of the great rivalries in English football and one to be enjoyed and celebrated in the right spirit by everybody connected with both clubs.
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'Unfortunately, however, when we last met at Portman Road in October there was some material posted on social media, by a tiny minority of fans of both clubs, which has no place in modern football or society in general.
'We are therefore determined to unite with Ipswich Town in dealing with this sort of material and we will issue stadium bans where we deem it appropriate. Of course in some cases, posts of this nature may fall into the realms of criminal offence and could also lead to police action.'
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Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison, from Norfolk Police, added: 'We fully support the club in taking this strong stance, which sends a clear message about behaviour expected from supporters. Working in partnership with Suffolk Police, officers monitor social media in the run-up to significant games and we will investigate any crimes identified. We will also notify clubs where postings have the intention of provoking violence or disorder so they can consider banning the offender.'
Renowned actor and Canaries fan, Stephen Fry, has shared his support for the club's decision. He said: 'It takes a lot to bring us together - but this is a big issue.'
• What do you think of the decision to issue stadium bans? Let us know in the comments below.