World of Sport

Blackburn fans banned from using protest banners

World of Sport

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Blackburn
fans calling for the removal of manager Steve Kean have been banned from
displaying protest banners before and during Saturday's home match with
Chelsea.

A fourth
successive demonstration is planned at Ewood Park, but the club will not allow
any banners into the ground until after the final whistle.

Rovers
will, however, allow fans to stage their protest after the match with banners
which have been handed over to stewards prior to entry.

"Any
banners that have to be confiscated due to them not being offered over in good
faith will not be returned and personnel may be refused entry at that
point," Blackburn's stadium/safety manager John Newsham wrote in an email
sent to protest organisers.

"If
any banners get into the ground and are displayed they will be removed by
stewards and not returned."

 

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Protest organisers
said, after a meeting with the club and Lancashire Police, the decision was
taken after Rovers claimed there may be a counter protest against the
demonstration and they wanted to reduce the chances of conflict inside the
ground.

 

"Not
being able to have banners is a blow, but we take health and safety very
seriously," Glen Mullen, one of the organisers, said in a statement.

"The
protest group's conduct has been exemplary throughout the last couple of months
and we wish all our demonstrations to be peaceful with clear messages.

"Although
disappointed, we respect the club's decision to impose a banner ban in the
interest of public safety.

"We
have had no incidents of public order offences during any previous protests and
have no wish to see any in the future.

 

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"We
appreciate the club and the police bringing to our attention that other protest
groups may exist and may be looking to cause conflict on Saturday.

 

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"This
is something no-one wishes to see at Ewood Park, which has always been a club
with impeccable supporter conduct."

 

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Kean has
faced opposition from a growing number of fans after presiding over just six
wins - and just one this season - in 31 Premier League matches.

 

(PA Sport / Eurosport)

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