Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Laudrup scoffs at netting idea

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has rejected the idea of safety nets at football matches

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has rejected Gordon Taylor's suggestion that netting should be used to control fans in specific sections of football stadiums.

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Taylor was speaking following the events of Sunday's Manchester derby, where Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin thrown from the crowd. A Manchester City fan also ran onto the pitch to try and confront the England international.

But Laudrup does not believe the actions of a minority should be allowed to spoil the viewing experience of the majority of supporters.

He said: "I remember when I came to Spain in 1989 and played with Barcelona at the Nou Camp, there were 120,000 fans. There was a barrier around the field so it was impossible for the fans to get on the pitch. But when they redeveloped the stadium in the 90s the first row were just a few yards from the players.

"At a Barcelona v Real Madrid game anybody could have got on to the pitch and kicked somebody. I have been there as a Real Madrid player as well with 120,000 fans. You start to think 'what could happen here?' But it never happened with (Luis) Figo, with me or anybody.

"I just think we have done so much going forward to trust the crowd to be responsible and just because one, two or three people out of 40, 50 or 100,000 do something, should we go backwards again? I really don't think so. Not for one coin, or one stupid person going on the pitch.

"We should not go backwards, we should remain where we are. We have taken steps forward to make the crowd responsible and if you ask fans in Manchester or anywhere what they think of the person who threw the coin they would all agree. So I don't think we should change a lot of things for a few people out of hundreds of thousands."

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