FUTURE CENTRE SQUARE WORLD CUP SCREENINGS CANCELLED
By fmttm
Monday 09 Jul 2018 18:23:00
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Plans to screen forthcoming World Cup matches in Centre Square have been put on hold following outbreaks of disorder during England’s quarter-final clash with Sweden.

Police were called in to support event staff as fans converged on the big screen to watch the game.

The enclosure’s maximum capacity of 3,000 had been reached well before kick-off, with stewards turning away those who were already intoxicated or who were attempting bring in alcohol purchased elsewhere.

While some left the area, around 500 people remained, with some trying to force their way through the fence and subjecting staff to a volley of abuse and threats of violence.

Despite security searches on entry, a number of flares were also smuggled in and were lit and thrown into the main crowd.

Matters were not helped by technical problems with the big screen resulting in a delay in transmission, and a break in the broadcast during the second half.

Following consultation with Cleveland Police – who experienced one of their busiest ever nights in terms of calls for service and emergency calls - the decision has been taken not to screen England’s semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday evening.

Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “Centre Square is one of the region’s best venues, and a great family-friendly space for local, regional and national events.

“We wanted to give England fans the opportunity to follow the team’s progress, and this worked well for Tuesday’s game against Colombia.

“However the behaviour experienced on Saturday – and in particular the abuse and intimidation aimed at hard-working staff – was completely unacceptable and something we will not tolerate.

“This behaviour put the safety of families and children in danger, and in at least one instance resulted in injury.

“We have consulted with our colleagues at Cleveland Police, and accept their advice that it would simply not be advisable to screen any further games in this way.

“I can only apologise to law-abiding fans, and I would urge those involved in Saturday’s disorder to think long and hard about their behaviour.”

 




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