Football Club bans ‘political’ flags

January 30 2014

MANGOTSFIELD United are at the centre of a row over the use of smoke flares and flags at football matches.

MANGOTSFIELD United are at the centre of a row over the use of smoke flares and flags at football matches.

A group of supporters, calling themselves the Inter Village Firm, have been setting off smoke bombs and waving flags at the club’s games as part of a campaign against racism in football.

But now the club have banned the fans from taking action at The Glass Consultants UK Stadium in Cossham Street after intervention from the domestic game’s ruling body, the Football Association.

MUFC say they received six separate complaints during November about flares and “politically motivated” banners. They have now updated their regulations in line with FA guidelines to read: “The use of flares or smoke bombs at the ground are not permitted. Also the displaying of banners, posters or stickers that are of a political nature is not permitted at the ground.”

The IVF said it would comply with the new rules, which members felt had been forced upon the football club by the FA.

In a statement on its tumblr blog site, it said: “The IVF is extremely disappointed by the decision but not overly surprised. It’s a shame that those who felt the need to complain did not go to the supporters in question or the club before heading to the powers above.

“We understand that in the last couple of months there has been a lot of negative press about the use of pyrotechnics in football grounds that on the whole has been poorly researched and fear mongering. We do however understand that in the current footballing climate pyrotechnics can be deemed dangerous and we shall cease using them at home games.

“Since the start of the season the IVF have taken to displaying antifascist flags to show our stance as a club for everyone. No matter your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or class everyone is welcome at Cossham Street. We do believe that displaying this stance has indeed put numbers on gates at Cossham Street and won us a lot of followers worldwide. It is baffling how someone can find antifascist flags offensive given the recent history of Britain.”

Supporters of IVF say the FA has double standards, speaking out against racism in high-profile cases involving the game’s stars yet taking action against fans who seek to promote an antifascist message.

They say that racism is still rife among many football supporters, with no clampdown on groups of fans who display flags and slogans promoting organisations such as the English Defence League.

After announcing the changed regulations, MUFC issued a further statement, saying: “We can confirm that Mangotsfield United are a family run football and social club.

”No director of the club appreciates the airing of political views directly or indirectly linked to the club. We do not wish to be associated in any way to any type of political comment or political party.”