Segregation lines stop fans from integrating.

Recent scenes in the FA Cup have served as a reminder of football’s dark past of violence, racism and hooliganism. 

The most recent incident, the mass brawl which preceded Everton’s clash with Millwall last weekend, has reminded those working at the City Ground that football has still got a lot of work to do to restore its image.

One Everton fan was slashed in the face by a Millwall supporter outside The Den before the game on January 26.

Nottingham Forest’s Chief Operator, Alan Bexon, says clubs still face big challenges around crowd control.

He says while they are widely used the physical divide of segregation lines can sometimes fuel animosity between fans.

“Whenever there is segregation (between fans), there will be opportunities for fans to come together and there will be incidents that will happen”.

“The number of reported incidents have gone up, I see that as a positive.”
Alan Bexon, Nottingham Forest Chief Operator

Public disorder rose by 5% in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17 and the use of pyrotechnics is becoming more popular.

GOV.UK – Stats show a rise in public disorder and Pyrotechnic use from the 2016/17 season

Bexon, who has worked in football for 30 years, says while the number of reported incidents has gone up he is trying to see that as a positive.

“The number of reported incidents has gone up, I see that as a positive, we’re in a time now where the vast majority of people think, that’s not acceptable”.

Football’s negative stigma of violence and verbal abuse is well documented and segregation lines are common place in stadiums across the country.

But Bexon has doubts about whether they are a total solution.

Alan Bexon announces why he thinks a rise in reporting incidents is not a bad thing.

While those involved in the sport are hopeful that scenes like those at Millwall are few and far between there is an increasing awareness that a lasting solution is needed.