Incidents lead to heightened security at futsal games

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The Futsal Malta Association (FSM) will be implementing a new security plan at Futsal games after a series of incidents saw fans being attacked by so-called supporters of rival teams at the Corradino Sports Pavilion.

FSM president Mark Borg told MaltaToday that the association is concerned with the incidents at the Futsal games “because sport and violence should never go hand in hand.”

Futsal games are played on Friday evenings and until recently the pavilion was a safe place for families and fans. But a number of incidents have been reported in recent weeks and this led to a number of clubs and fans voicing their concern.

“An incident was reported to us last week which involved a number of persons in the bar adjacent to the sport pavilion after the semi-final game was completed,” Borg said adding that this has prompted the association to draft and implement a security plan for forthcoming matches.

“It would be a real pity if incidents spoil the enjoyment of supporters who come in good faith, and tarnish such an upcoming sport which is growing in popularity both locally and internationally,” he added.

For the final stages of this season’s competitions, which attract a substantial number of supporters, the association has prepared a security plan, with the help of experienced security persons working at the Ta’ Qali national stadium, and has presented this plan to the Malta Football Association (MFA), the Malta Football Referees Association and the clubs.

Sources close to the police force have told MaltaToday that a small number of police officers were being engaged by the association to man the Corradino Sports Pavilion, where most futsal games are played.

Moreover, the police were only paid to be present inside the pavilion for the duration of the matches. This meant that the police were not responsible for what happened before and after the games, especially outside the pavilion.
Hotly contested matches can attract a few hundred people and sources said that on certain occasions the police presence was not big enough, especially with alcohol being served at a nearby bar.

This plan involves the segregation of supporters, the increase in police complement under the control of a responsible police sergeant, the engagement of an FMA security coordinator, the engagement of a private security company for gate control at pre-determined checkpoints and the arrangement with the bar operator to adopt a separate security set-up.

The police have also been instructed to carry out searches at the main entrance.
Borg explained that all stakeholders endorsed the plan and the association intends to implement the plan in the remaining games.

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