West Ham announce measures to prevent violent scenes at Chelsea cup clash
Published 24/10/2016 | 22:36
Fans will face body searches at the turnstiles, alcohol restrictions, post-match segregation and a "robust policing plan" as part of measures aimed to minimise crowd trouble when West Ham host Chelsea in the EFL Cup.
Chelsea have been allocated just under 5,200 tickets for Wednesday night's fourth-round tie at London Stadium, which has been designated as a high-risk fixture given the history of animosity between the two sets of fans.
West Ham moved from Upton Park into the converted Olympic Stadium for the start of the new season.
There have been instances of disturbances in the stands during some Premier League fixtures, including against Watford and Middlesbrough.
Recent matches have seen an increased line of segregation and also more stewards, as well as improved levels of training.
In total, there have been nine arrests outside London Stadium, while 23 banning orders have been issued by West Ham, ranging from drinking in view of the pitch to breaking the line of segregation.
The Metropolitan Police Service says a ''tactical solution'' is now set for future games which would see officers deployed inside the ground if needed, despite the lack of a fully-operational Airwave radio system, which is used by the emergency services and now planned to be in place at London Stadium by February 2017.
On Tuesday evening, West Ham published on their website more information for supporters attending the cup tie and encouraged them to arrive early, with an "enhanced body search policy" to be implemented at the turnstile.
Ticket sales for home fans have been limited to supporters with a recorded purchase history at West Ham, while no alcohol will be sold pre-match from mobile bars outside the stadium. Those inside will be open as normal, albeit serving drinks in plastic cups, while there will be no post-match sales.
The Met Police will also "continue to provide an appropriate and visible presence" outside the game, with supporters able to mix freely before the match.
Afterwards, however, segregation will be in place outside the away turnstile along with a cordon as Chelsea fans are directed via the south steps towards Pudding Mill Lane Docklands Light Railway Station.
All supporters will be informed of any changes to these plans on the night via the stadium public address system.
In the article, West Ham highlighted " the overwhelming majority of supporters attending matches at London Stadium so far this season have behaved impeccably during their visits", but also restated the club's ' zero tolerance policy' which will see any Irons' fans " found to be acting inappropriately... identified and dealt with accordingly".
A spokesperson for London Stadium partners West Ham, E20 Stadium LLP and London Stadium 185 said there was confidence the new measures implemented since the start of the season have proven successful .
"The depth of the line of segregation between home and visiting fans at London Stadium was made significantly wider after the game against Watford with additional stewards deployed in that area. This new line of segregation was implemented at the Accrington Stanley (EFL Cup) game," the spokesperson said.
"We have had no issues with the new segregation and we have had positive feedback from supporters in that area and consider this early issue to now be resolved."
The spokesperson added: " The Metropolitan Police Service have been working closely and effectively with all London Stadium stakeholders ahead of the Chelsea game, and there is a robust policing plan in place to deal with crime and disorder and support all the stakeholders in making this a safe event.
"The match against Chelsea will have significant resources deployed to prevent any breach of peace or unsocial behaviour, and help ensure a safe and family friendly environment for all London Stadium visitors.
"All stadium partners are committed to a zero tolerance policy to anti-social behaviour, inside and outside the London Stadium and will not hesitate to take action."