Sit down or get out

PASSIONATE Ipswich Town fans who do not sit down during matches at Portman Road could be kicked out of the ground under a new 'three strikes and you're out' policy.

PASSIONATE Ipswich Town fans who do not sit down during matches at Portman Road could be kicked out of the ground under a new 'three strikes and you're out' policy.

As North Stand season tickets landed on doormats across Suffolk over the weekend, they were accompanied by a letter from the club detailing the new proposals for keeping fans in their seats.

Persistent standers will receive a verbal warning from a steward, then a further warning before being ejected from the stadium and banned from future games. The ban will also apply to Blues away games.

The letter does state, however, that fans can take to their feet "during periods of excitement or celebration".

But the request has not gone down well with some supporters, many of whom would like to see a return to standing areas inside Portman Road.

North Stand season ticket holder Peter Finch said: "The club's only enforcing what the Football Association are telling them to. It really is out of the club's hands, but I do think the sit down rule is pathetic.

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"Standing is a big part of being in the North Stand. If people are not happy about it, they can go and sit elsewhere in the stadium."

Fellow season ticket holder David Jones added: "I can't really see how it can be implemented. Those in the North Stand are quite passionate supporters and have always stood.

"I understand what the club is doing, but I really hope people don't get banned for standing – it seems a little harsh."

Terry Baxter, head of media and communications at Ipswich Town, explained the club's stance was not new policy. He also revealed that the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) has the power to close parts of the ground if the problem persists.

He said: "Like all football clubs in this country, we are being encouraged by the FLA and the government to ensure the safety of supporters in the ground. It's a serious point that needs the co-operation of fans."

Mr Baxter also said season ticket holders who were banned from the ground would not receive any money back from the club to compensate for games they would be permitted from watching.

What do you think of the club's stance on standing during matches? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink: www.itfc.co.uk

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