No protests at Seaview urge Crusaders

Published Tuesday, 19 February 2013
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The board of Crusaders Football Club has urged flag protestors not to demonstrate at their grounds in north Belfast, after a highly-anticipated Irish league match was postponed at the weekend.

No protests at Seaview urge Crusaders
The game at Seaview had to be postponed following a loyalist protest. (© Presseye)

Crusaders representatives apologised to fans for any inconvenience after Saturday's game with Cliftonville had to be called off for public safety reasons.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the club said that politics play no part in sport.

"We are requesting that our members, supporters, local residents, community groups, schools, churches, politicians, sporting bodies, and all other interested parties use all their influence to put an end to flag protests in the environs of our stadium," the statement said.

Police were attacked after they attempted to move a loyalist flag picket at the grounds where the club has been based for over 90 years.

It has been claimed some of the protestors also wanted to express concerns about the behaviour of football fans in the area in the past.

Three people were charged with public disorder and assault on police over the trouble.

On Monday, a senior PSNI chief defended the police handling of the demonstration amid accusations of heavy-handedness.

We would urge flag protestors and others to desist from engaging in flag protests in the proximity of our stadium.

Crusaders FC

The statement from the football club also emphasised that "extensive dialogue" with Skegoneil Avenue residents and others had been ongoing since November to ensure the game went ahead.

"At those meetings, the residents raised concerns in relation to Cliftonville fans travelling to games at Seaview and a protest was mooted," the statement said.

"However, after three further meetings and engagement with Cliftonville FC - and both clubs taking joint measures - the planned protest was called off at a meeting with residents which took place on Friday 8 February.

"A further meeting with residents, Crusaders FC and the PSNI took place at York Road barracks on Wednesday 13 February, when residents assured the PSNI there was no planned protest."

The club said that all parties kept to the agreement and that there was no protest by the Skegoneil Avenue residents.

They thanked residents, the HUBB community group, and Cliftonville FC for supporting efforts to stage Saturday's game.

"We now need the entire community to show their support for our football club at this very difficult time," the statement added.

The club board said the postponed match should be played at Seaview "at the earliest opportunity".

At the weekend, Cliftonville said they were disappointed by the match's postponement and thanked fans for their cooperation.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
12 Comments
maggie in north west wrote (548 days ago):
Some day my opinion will count!Someone should explain to these loyalists they bring disgrace on the flag. It should not be used for this purpose. We want the Nationalists to respect the fact we are British but stop ramming it down their throats. If we want to fight Sinn Fein for the anti British way they have behaved do not follow in their footsteps.SF know how to pull poppet strings and they see you dance. Remember they always call the tune. The way i see it SF is desperately trying to keep anoyance and trouble on our streets caused by the loyalists.since a pol came up that people here wanted NI to remain British. They are good at scare mongering and their efforts are failing. It is bad enough the British government is stooping to please and flag waving Loyalists show a pathetic refection on Protestant religion
CrumlinT in Co Antrim wrote (548 days ago):
Top marks to Crusaders Football Club for the dignified manner in which they have dealt with this situation. Good luck with the rest of the season, (just hope you don't catch the Reds!).
Moira in Moira wrote (549 days ago):
"Politics play no part in sport". lol Gaa grounds and trophies named after sectarian Ira bigots.Ssh dont mention that....
Tommy Atkins in London, England wrote (549 days ago):
Do you think for one moment that these "numb-Skulls" are going to listen. Lets face it the would ot even listen to King Billy himself. What a wonderful country !!
John in Newtownabbey wrote (549 days ago):
Full marks to both clubs and their true supporters for showing more dignity than all of the rabble protesters could ever aspire to, even if they knew the meaning of the word.
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