We have today introduced further measures to enhance fan safety at the Stadium of Light following the recent conduct of a small minority of away supporters.
This follows an engagement session with our Supporters’ Groups, who met with the Club last week to discuss and agree upon the next steps taken to address the continually escalating societal behavioural issues currently impacting SAFC and many other Clubs.
The new measures will be in place from this weekend’s home fixture versus Cardiff City and they are in addition to the operational changes made in August, which includes the searching of all away fans upon entering the stadium, increasing stewarding capacity in the North Stand and enhancing the CCTV network.
Following dialogue with the EFL on Thursday, it is now Club policy that coins and vapes will no longer be permitted in the away section of the North Stand at the Stadium of Light.
Any visiting supporter found carrying these items will be asked to discard of them prior to entering the stadium, at which point they will be subjected to enhanced security procedures to further reduce the risk of objects entering the stadium which can be used as missiles.
This information will be clearly communicated to all visiting Clubs in advance and all vapes will be sustainably discarded, with any coins confiscated donated to the away Club’s nominated charity.
Pre-planned investment in an enhanced lighting system in the North Stand upper will also be fast tracked to further improve the effectiveness of the recently-upgraded CCTV network in identifying any anti-social behaviour.
The introduction of netting was also discussed with Supporters’ Groups, but it was agreed that netting by itself would not prevent the full range of missiles that have been thrown this season.
We will therefore be launching an engagement programme in November to ensure we work hand-in-hand with supporters to identify the best possible long-term solutions to protect supporters.
This will consider all aspects of the stadium configuration, including away fan location and the family zone, and continue to explore the viability of the installation of protective netting.
All at SAFC would like to once again thank supporters for their continued backing and we welcome further feedback upon the implementation of these new measures.