BROMSGROVE Sporting have been contacted by the Football Association following isolated incidents of fan trouble during their FA Vase quarter-final clash against Buckland Athletic last month.
Referee Samuel Allison submitted in his report to the FA there had been occurrences of coin throwing at the Buckland goalkeeper and flare/smoke bomb throwing from Sporting fans during the game which was played in front of 2,984 supporters on February 19.
Mr Allison had also made a note of a fan incursion which happened after the first goal had been scored by Liam Spink.
This in turn has affected the club’s plans to increase the capacity of the Victoria Ground from 3,000 to 4,000 for the Vase semi-final first leg on Saturday, March 11 against Cleethorpes Town.
Following lengthy discussions and planning meetings with Worcestershire County Council’s safety advisory group, the two parties agreed on increasing the capacity to 3,500 amidst minor concerns of further fan trouble.
Rob McLaren, facility director and safety officer at Sporting, said: “The FA contacted our secretary Dave Stephens following the referee’s report and we now have to answer those claims.
“We are unsure how the FA will deal with the case but hopefully it will be just a warning and not result in any fines.
“It’s a little bit disappointing really as Bromsgrove Sporting is a family club which prides itself on its great atmosphere where kids can run around and not feel threatened.
“All we can do now is to try and identify the culprits and prevent them from entering games again.”
Sporting will now have to prove to the county council they can manage 3,500 fans before being allowed another capacity increase for future games.
In a bid to prevent further fan disruption for the Cleethorpes fixture, the capacity of the Shed End has been reduced from 1,600 to 1,300 and will be isolated from the Rouslers Bar.
CCTV is also going to be installed which will allow the club to identify perpetrators and issue banning orders should the incidents reported last month re-occur.
Fans entering the ground will also be subject to more thorough bag searches and anybody who is too intoxicated will be refused entry.
Rob added: “We have to prove we can manage more fans now but what’s disappointing is the fans can manage themselves.
“We had no incidents when 974 fans watched the Coventry United game last season and no incidents when close to 1,500 came to the Vase game against Bristol Manor Farm.
“It has took until 3,000 for something to happen but what’s important to remember is there was no Premier League matches on that Sunday and I think fans of the Premier League see non-league football as an easy target.
“We will be doing our best to prevent these kind of incidents from happening again as quick as possible.”