Fans have been warned that letting off flares in a football stadium is a criminal offence.
Golcar United have been hit with a big fine after fans set off flares to celebrate the play-off final victory over Holker Old Boys.
The semi-professional club was charged by the FA with failing to control their supporters, who it was claimed, let off a “number of flares” in the ground and also ran onto the pitch delaying the re-start of play.
Golcar are taking the matter seriously and have warned any fans bringing flares or smoke bombs to matches in future could be banned or have their season ticket rescinded.
Huddersfield Hub understands Cumbria-based Holker – which hosted the final – have also been fined. The authorities are believed to be looking at other matches where flares may have been released.
It is understood that Golcar has been found guilty and fined. The exact amount has not been revealed but the club has described the fine as a “large amount.” The maximum penalty for the offence is £250.
The club could also face punishment from the North West Counties Football League for ‘bringing the league into disrepute.’
The club issued a statement which says: “Unfortunately, there’s been a growing trend of supporters using pyrotechnics at football grounds and this includes our final fixture of the season at Holker Old Boys away.
“While we appreciate that supporters are trying to enhance the atmosphere and are showing their support for the club, we now ask that our supporters no longer bring flares into The Skye Direct Stadium or at any away games going forward.
“The club have been fined a large amount for the use of flares in that fixture and this cannot continue.
“We’d like to remind supporters that using flares in football stadia is actually a criminal offence, not to mention being extremely dangerous.
“Please take note going forward, otherwise we will have to take action, which may include rescinding season tickets and issuing bans. And that is something we really do not want to do as we appreciate each and every one of our supporters!”
Club secretary Ben Senior declined to comment further as the matter was “still ongoing” but it is thought club officials feel the size of the fine is disproportionate.
It is thought the “flares” let off by the Golcar fans were, in fact, smoke bombs which are very different to flares which burn with a naked flame. Smoke bombs, however, are still banned by law.
The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985 says it is an offence for any person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework. The sentence could be up to three months in jail.
Several top flight matches have been disrupted with flares being thrown onto the pitch in recent weeks. The FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea saw a flare delay the penalty shoot-out and flares were removed from the pitch by stewards at Everton’s game against Brentford.
Four arrests were also made after the two FA Cup semi-finals and ahead of the final, Wembley Stadium issued a statement which said: “In recent months, we have seen a rise in pyrotechnics, flares and smoke devices being brought to stadiums around the country.
“It is important to highlight that these items are not only illegal inside a football stadium but these prohibited items can also cause great harm to people.”