Crystal Palace have banned the spontaneous use of large stadium banners, with the threat of a stadium ban hanging over any fan who breaks the new ruling. The club issued a statement laying down a host of rules governing the use of large banners, citing that they can still be displayed at a match, as long as the club is notified 10 days beforehand.
The statement says: “The club recognises the role that large stadium banners can play in adding colour and vibrancy to match days. Their use has been encouraged over recent years and the club recognise the amount of effort and money that has been raised to make these happen. Selhurst Park has a unique atmosphere and we want this to continue, but not at any cost.”
The new rules:
- The Club will have to be notified at least 10 days before the match with details of the size of banner, its content and how it is proposed to be displayed.
- The banner itself must be totally compliant with all safety regulations including fire retardancy and its content must not be offensive in the opinion of the club.
- The installation and removal of the banner will have to be fully risk assessed to avoid any risk to fellow supporters.
- Any supporters putting up any unauthorised banners will face a club stadium ban.
- The club will assist wherever it can to make the use of banners possible but recognise that putting supporters safety at risk is simply not an option.
Crystal Palace Supporters Trust spokesman Chris Waters believes the new “heavy-handed” rules on banners at Selhurst Park have blown the issue way out of proportion. The new rules have been put in place following a dispute between stewards and fans when supporters tried to unveil a banner during the Arsenal game last Sunday. [See here].
Waters reckons it would have been fine except that the banner would have covered a Sky Sports camera. He said: “There has clearly been some sort of miscommunication at the club. I know that they need to clarify the health and safety rules for fans, however they have dealt with it in a very heavy handed way.”
He added: “The way the statement is worded is very harsh. All it has done is stoked up an issue which did not need to be stoked up. They could have just spoken to the people involved in the incident rather than releasing a statement to all supporters.”
The Holmesdale Fanatics, the group instrumental in the matchday displays issued a comment via their facebook page. It read:
“Unfortunately after all our efforts this week in an attempt to produce another positive display following on from last weeks disappointment, we have had our display for today’s game against Aston Villa [Sat 22 August] refused by the club & council. Next week we are having a meeting with both parties to try and make sure that one of the most unique & positive elements of the Palace culture is not lost to health & safety and petty bureaucracy.
“This negativity will be put to the back of our minds for 90 minutes today in order to get behind the lads and to ensure we get our home form up and running. Let’s hope for some much needed unity and support from the whole fan base. CPFC – Together our spirit is unbreakable”