Stevenage FC says no inappropriate searches were carried out on women and children despite increased security at Saturday’s Grimsby Town match
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage FC has stood by its security policy at this weekend’s game which was slammed by Grimsby Town supporters for being “antagonistic” and including inappropriate searches on women and children.
A Grimsby Town FC supporters’ group called the Mariners Trust wrote an outspoken letter to Stevenage FC, footballing authorities and the media, alleging that stewards had asked women to lift up their tops so they could check their bras and carried out full searches on children as young as five.
The letter has caused a media storm and the FA and EFL have both said they are looking into the matter.
However this evening Stevenage FC’s safety officer issued a statement which echoed an earlier police statement saying extra security measures were taken at Saturday’s game because of trouble at Grimsby’s last away game against Chesterfield, but denying anything was done inappropriately.
The statement reads: “The stewarding plan for Saturday’s match was not typical of those usually delivered at Stevenage Football Club.
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“All stewarding plans are bespoke for each match and are based on a combination of past experience, supporter behaviour and police intelligence.
“The risk assessment going into Saturday’s game indicated high risk groups attending and the potential for anti-social and un-cooperative behaviour.
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“After liaising with Grimsby Town’s safety officer, the police and others, it was indicated that prohibited items were likely to try to be brought into the grounds and could be passed onto those deemed less likely to be searched, such as women and younger supporters.
“This resulted in a joint club and police decision to implement a full, 100 per cent compliant, searching regime as part of the condition of entry.
“Grimsby Town’s supporter liason officer was made fully aware of the nature of the search regime prior to the game, to ensure all attending were aware and could allow sufficient time to access the stadium.
“Stewards used for this role in the away section of the stadium were provided by a reputable agency and are qualified to act as such. Searches conducted are recorded on CCTV and, on this occasion, were in the presence of deployed police officers.
“No incidents were recorded on the day of any inappropriate behaviour towards female supporters or young spectators. Had such incidents been either reported or flagged up, the issues would have been dealt with immediately.
“The club takes these allegations seriously and will both study the CCTV footage and speak to the relevant parties to ensure that no infringements of accepted procedures took place.
“Stevenage FC is a family-orientated club that has an excellent track-record in being so. A key part of that is the friendly, helpful and positive nature of our stewarding and those who deliver it.”
Vice chair of the Mariners Trust, Paul Savage, said it was not the end of the matter for the Grimsby supporters.
He said: “We are digesting the club’s statement which we’ve seen on social media and we dispute some of the issues within it.
“We are still hoping the club will investigate what happened and so we don’t feel the matter is closed at this point.”