FA warning sparks fears over Wembley friendly
The English FA has warned their supporters to stop chanting "No surrender" in an attempt to avoid the prospect of crowd trouble at the friendly against Ireland at Wembley in May.
The chant of "No surrender to the IRA" – which was aired in San Marino last Tuesday – has blighted home and away games in recent times and the FA have moved to highlight their concerns in an attempt to ease tensions ahead of the game against the Ireland on May 29. The two countries have not met since the 1995 game at Lansdowne Road which was abandoned after 27 minutes because of crowd trouble in the away section.
The English FA are expected to liaise with their counterparts ahead of the game, with a large Irish support expected to be present at Wembley.
While the behaviour of Irish fans has been excellent in recent years, this game could attract an element that do not usually travel to away fixtures.
England fans last night accused the FA of potentially increasing the risk of unrest by drawing attention to the song during a testing 48 hours for their governing body. Mark Perryman, an England fans' spokesman, has admitted he is bewildered by the FA's plea to end the chanting and fears it may merely have magnified the problem.
"What I find extraordinary is the statement about 'No surrender' has been linked to the alleged racist chanting," Perryman said. "I can't understand why the FA have suddenly launched into it without offering any explanation.
"They have now drawn attention to it and when you tell someone not to chant something, the chances are that more people will chant it."
Discussions are to be held with Fifa next Tuesday regarding the alleged racist chanting towards Rio Ferdinand, with the England international revealing his own disbelief yesterday.
He tweeted: "You expect+accept banter from fans on the terraces as its part of what makes the game great, but racism is not banter, & from ya own fans. WOW. Always a small minority who ruin it for others."
He later added: "Let's not jump to conclusions and assume though as it might just have been banter. We'll see after the investigation." (© Daily Telegraph, London)