Clubs impose nationwide ban on supporters wearing t-shirts denouncing the board

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By Tony Attwood

The Premier League and the FA are busy making rules – including one that bans spectators from each other’s grounds for wearing t-shirts demanding the removal of directors.  But as we have mentioned, there’s no progress on resolving the somewhat more important issue of regulations for signing 16 to 18-year-olds from Europe next summer – something that has been legal when the UK was part of the EU, and which will be illegal when the UK totally leaves but is uncertain during the transition period in which we now found ourselves.

A bit silly not to have worked that one out in advance, but well, you know, transfers… who cares about transfers when the delicacies of directors is a concern.

(Mind you there are also still no arrangements determining work permits for European players aged over 18 from next summer on, so maybe that is to be expected).

Meanwhile, the Premier League directors have united on the issue of banning supporters from each other’s grounds, telling anyone who will listen that anyone banned for violent or abusive behaviour by one Premier League club will automatically also be banned from every other Premier League ground.

Which presumably means a person banned as a result of an incident in an away ground will then be banned from his or her home ground, despite having a season ticket.

This is in response to the banning of a West Ham supporter who wore a t-shirt that had a message saying the three controlling directors of the club should leave the club.

Now in the UK, free speech, and the right to protest, is quite highly prized.  OK not very highly prized by the present government, which has been trying to debar certain journalists from some of its press briefings, but it is protected by the law of the land, upheld by the courts.

This notion of free speech goes back a long way (1689 as far as I recall, and as Blacksheep regularly points out, I was there) but was formally enshrined under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, noting “everyone has the right to freedom of expression” in the UK. But the law states that this freedom “may be subject to formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society.”

Using this, the Premier League statement said that it now would ban fans across all its ground for “Unacceptable conduct towards players, fans, club employees or referees.”  The offensive t-shirt as I understand it did not contain any offensive words, but simply called for the removal of three directors.

Promoting the new ban David Gold of WHAM said, “The Burnley game was a terrible experience. My 10-year-old granddaughter said: ‘Grandpa, what do they mean? You’re not a liar are you, Grandpa?’ I mean, what do you say to a 10-year-old? It was dreadful.”

Now as I have three daughters and eight grandchildren I have a certain feeling for protecting children from certain experiences, but personally I would not take a primary school child to a match – the general language in and around the ground is not that which I would wish to explain to an inquisitive 10-year-old (although of course, they will know most of it by then – but even so, I still don’t want to explain).

But what we have here is a business utilising its right not to provide a service, which is accepted in law as long as it is not on the grounds of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or disability, which are all protected characteristics.  Now it wants that extended the refusal to provide a service on the grounds of t-shirt and to have it extended to 19 other locations where the offence has not taken place, and where quite possibly the offender has never once set foot.

That, I suspect, is not legal, but its imposition is a sign of the growing arrogance of the League.

It may not affect you or me, unless of course, we choose to wear T-shirts demanding the removal of the manager or the board of directors.  Although if we all wore a “Kroenke out” t-shirt would the stewards remove all of us?

Now this does raise an issue for writers like me.  If I call for a director to be removed on a blog, will that mean the removal of my season ticket and a country-wide ban, or does it only happen if a wear a t-shirt carrying the message in the stadium?

We shall, of course, see in due course.  Or not, as the case may be.

See also…



14 Replies to “Clubs impose nationwide ban on supporters wearing t-shirts denouncing the board”

  1. Tony

    “The Premier League and the FA are busy making rules – including one that bans spectators from each other’s grounds for wearing t-shirts demanding the removal of directors.

    This is in response to the banning of a West Ham supporter who wore a t-shirt that had a message saying the three controlling directors of the club should leave the club.

    Using this, the Premier League statement said that it now would ban fans across all its ground for “Unacceptable conduct towards players, fans, club employees or referees.”

    A few points:

    How good is it to see the PL and FA leap in to action. Shame they didn’t leap in to action when all those vile songs about Wenger were sang on a regular basis.

    Still I suppose this at least means we wont be seeing any ‘Arteta Out’ banners as soon as ASTV get bored with him. I wonder if the ban will include the air space over the ground?

    I see they’ve slipped the Referees on to their little list, so now as well as banning most media outlets from criticising referees, as well as ex referees from criticising referees, they’re now banning fans from criticising referees. Oh joy.

    “Now in the UK, free speech, and the right to protest, is quite highly prized. OK not very highly prized by the present government,”

    Putting this Government and free speech in the same sentence is like putting Spurs and Trophies together. Neither has any credibility what so ever.

  2. Tony,

    well does this mean that if a supporter writes a tweet criticizing the Stait Aid owner, he will be banned as well ? Or only he he writes such a comment on a State Aid website, facebook or twitter feed ?

    If you call in onto a radio station or TV station criticizing that guy, will they impound your TV or radio ?

    We ought to start a crowdfunding campaign to go after that in the courts….

  3. Fo.Lo has a nice-ish article about Mertesacker at the Academy, but they just cannot stop form making jabs at how horrible Arsenal is as an organization.

  4. The (sweet) FA has decided to not pursue any disciplinary action against LiVARpool! over their hacking of Man$ity a few years ago. The two teams had agreed compensation in this incident, but LiVARpool! didn’t not have to admit to doing anything wrong.

    Do you think The (sweet) FA would have dropped things, if it was Arsenal accused of this?

    All teams are equal, it is just that some teams are more equal than others.

  5. OT: Statistics

    There are people who continue to say that a person _CAN_ do anything with statistics. I suppose – you could hammer in a nail with a glass jar (filled with water), but you shouldn’t. Statistics is similar.

    Okay, if I measure the elevation of the land at a number of discrete points, and then fit a surface to those points; I will have a statistical representation of the land (a digital elevation model). If the measurements are from GPS, the elevation will probably be in meters with respect to some measure of sea level. I should be able to draw contours (iso-elevation lines) on this surface. If I convert the elevation values to feet, the “shape” of the curves should stay the same. What I am approximately doing is multiplying all the elevations by a constant. It need not be exact, the contour of 2m elevation should be close to the contour of 6 feet.

    If I was measuring temperature instead of elevation, the conversion between different temperature scales can involve the multiplication by a constant followed by the addition of a constant. Again, under such a change of variables, the contour lines should stay the same or be similar. Another change of variables which preserves the shape of contours, is a rotation of coordinates about a single point.

    If I had a planar shape which was flexible, and I heat two edges and cool two edges, I can set up a “stationary” temperature field in the plane of the object. And I can measure that at some locations and then fit a surface through those measurements to derive a statistical measure of the temperature everywhere.

    Another transformation I can affect, is to change the shape of the planar object by applying a shear force to it. For a small angle of shear, the change in the contours will be small.

    So, it isn’t a situation that you can do whatever you want with numbers. You should only do what makes sense.

  6. I guess I poisoned this thread with such talk, eh?

    If you are fitting a line (in 2D) to points, and your equation of choice has N (a quadratic has 3) unknowns, you need 3 data points to force the fit to go through those 3 points, and more than 3 points to best fit the line for some definition of best to the data.

    Least squares is a commonly used definition of best, and often assumes all data points have the same weighting factor applied to them (and it s equal to 1). If some points are better known than others, then using weighting factors is useful. If you happen to know the variance associated with each data point, the inverse variance is often a good weighting factor.

    It is best if you choose an equation based on theoretical concerns, not just pick one out of a hat.

    Many times, we have no ability to choose the data points we sample. Most people tend to pick equally spaced data if they can choose data points. Many situations work better if you choose data points in some other way. The zeros of a Chebyshev polynomial are a particularly good choice of places to get data from.

    But in football, I seldom see such concerns as coming up. Football teams do not build stadiums that come from special problems like Bessel functions or Chebyshev polynomials.

    In the previous thread, I was trying to get Tony to put up some graphics about (poorly) trying to incorporate geographic information (the location of team stadia). The reason it was poor, is that I am assuming that 1 degree of latitude is the same distance as 1 degree of longitude. At the low 50 degrees which is seen in England and Wales, 1 degree of longitude is significantly smaller than 1 degree of latitude (about 60 miles).

    A better way to do England and Wales, would be to convert Latitude and Longitude into UTM coordinates, which typically uses the units of meters of Easting and meters of Northing.

  7. Gord, I regret the maths was too much for me when your email arrived, and I set it aside for later. Then realised I had not done a post for today so wrote away without going back to your work, as I had meant to do. My apologies, and no slight to your work intended.

  8. No problem. I think doing any kind of statistics, is best done with the right frame of mind.

  9. On topic (sorry)

    The WH fan in question was wearing the shirt whilst acting as a flag waver in the ground so the club presumably deemed it provocative (indeed they said he was inciting the crowd). I wonder what the legal position is here? Arguably any supporter wearing or displaying ANY slogan that a club deems ‘provocative’ could be banned from attending matches if this is allowed to stand?

    All those ‘Arsene its time to go’ (or similar) banners and stuff would mean very many of the WOB would no longer we at games today if this was enacted. What about chanting? Could/would clubs issue wholesale bans or attempt to eject supporters who start singing songs about the club, board, manager or players during games?

    This is fascinating as a strategy by PL clubs who really do seem to think that their actions are unquestionable and that they are above scrutiny.

  10. By the way Tony, I don’t we do have any RIGHT to free speech. Or rather we have no constitutional right, since we have no written constitution. In fact the current government’s actions (and those before the December GE) demonstrated that they are intent on pushing the boundaries of what they can (and cannot) do. If we had a clear and unambiguous written constitution enshrined in law then they would have far less wriggle room.

    here are some links

  11. I would say that FIFA actions are at least partially responsible. They disallowed World Cup attendees from wearing “controversial” t-shirts (from some other beer sponsor).

  12. Blacksheep, perhaps there could be a net above each person’s seat, and if that person misbehaves in the eyes of the directors, the net could come down, close around the supporter and lift him or her up, dropping the fan into a shute a bit like those found in fun fairs, and they could end up outside the ground. Could liven up a few matches, I guess.

  13. Wow! Tony what a grand idea. People would come to grounds just for the fun ride!!

    Who wants to watch PGMOL rules football !!! The chute ride with the gladiator net lift is spectacular!!

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