Derry City fined over €15,000 by UEFA and FAI
Derry City Football Club has been forced to pay both UEFA and the FAI upwards of €15,000 in disciplinary fines for breaching spectator conduct rules this season!
The Brandywell club has been slapped with a hefty €8,500 fine by UEFA for two incidents involving Derry supporters during their Europa Conference League qualifier against Riga in Latvia last July - the latest disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Candy Stripes.
European football’s governing body issued a €3,500 penalty for lighting of fireworks during the fixture and a further €5,000 for invasion of the field of play as one fan needed to be wrestled to the ground by matchday stewards.
Incredibly the club was issued with fines totalling almost €9,000 in the space of just four days last summer for three separate incidents.
Derry City opted to bring in additional matchday security at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in recent months to address anti-social behaviour and the lighting of flares which continues to hit the club hard in the pocket.
Last March the Board of Directors warned that those responsible for crowd disturbances would be issued with lifetime bans and a full review of the club’s matchday security quickly followed.
Following the latest breaches of UEFA’s safety and security regulations in Latvia and the financial penalties incurred, Derry City General Manager, Dodie McGuinness says the ongoing unruly behaviour of a small minority of fans shows a complete lack of respect to chairman, Mr. Philip O’Doherty, who continues to foot the bill.
She claims the fines paid to both governing bodies were ring fenced for the benefit of the club and manager Ruaidhri Higgins’ playing budget and described the behaviour of those fans involved as ‘a snub’ towards the chairman who has invested millions of his own money in the Lone Moor Road side.
“This kind of behaviour has cost the club in the region of €15,000 plus already this season which is unacceptable and hindering the club,” explained Mrs McGuinness.
“It was €8,500 in Riga and the weekend after that we were at Finn Park where we got fined another €400 for the lighting of flares. There’s nine grand in the space of a few days which could’ve gone towards benefiting the club or the team.
“The money earned for qualifying for Europe, that’s nearly 10 grand taken away from that due to the actions of some supporters.
“Given the effort the chairman has made to try to move the club forward, we’ve brought in additional security to the stadium on match days which has been mostly successful, yet there are some people who decide they will break FAI rules and the club suffers for it.
“The name of the club across the country suffers and the club suffers financially,” she added. “It’s almost like a snub to the chairman in terms of his investment.
“These individuals think that invading the pitch and throwing flares makes a match experience - it doesn’t! It leaves other people feeling uneasy. The majority of people want to be there and enjoy the match. They bring their children. We have 500 children season tickets which is massive for the club and we don’t want these young ones to be affected by all this kind of stuff.
“The Board are angry, upset and annoyed,” she continued, “Brandywell should be a family affair and we want to generate that safe, family friendly environment on match days.
“But it’s not just at home. At home we’ve been relatively successful. Away from home these people are travelling in numbers of 10s and 20s and they’re causing mayhem.
“We just don’t get fined for what happens in Brandywell. If we’re travelling to, say Drogheda, and there are flares thrown, both teams now get punished and it’s a big cost for the club.”The club says it will take a zero tolerance approach at Brandywell from now on and Mrs McGuinness insists rule breakers will be banned.
“The new security measures at Brandywell will be implemented. These people are not welcomed by our club. Our aim is to create a matchday experience where no one feels under threat.”