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Bernstein slams Manchester derby troublemakers

Football Association chairman David Bernstein has called for football clubs to hand out lifetime bans to fans found guilty of causing trouble.

Bernstein’s comments come after shocking scenes at Sunday’s derby between Manchester City and Manchester United that marred the game.

Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin thrown at him from the crowd whilecelebrating Robin Van Persie’s last-minute winner, leaving him with a cut just above his eye and blood streaming down his face.

Ferdinand was then approached by a Manchester City fan who ran onto the pitch amid the chaos to confront the Manchester United defender, only to be prevented by City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Bernstein told Sky Sports News: “What’s happened is totally unacceptable, deplorable. To see Rio Ferdinand with blood on his face is absolutely terrible.

“It’s sad to see such a fantastic match followed by headlines.

“It’s disturbing that we’re seeing a recurrence of these sorts of incidents. We’ve had some racial abuse incidents, pitch incursions, things being thrown at players.

“It’s very unacceptable. It’s for the FA, the whole game of football, the authorities to work together and deal with it in a most severe manner – going to court to get life bans for these people.

“It’s a social problem, a case of copycat, so it’s important to bring matters to a head. We will do everything we can to stop this blot on the game.”

He added: “It’s very disappointing: so much of football is so good, great things are happening in football as a whole, but these odd incidents get the headlines – and understandably because they are serious matters, they are unforgivable things.

“When you think of the millions watching football every week, or involved in football, to see it hijacked by these incidents is awful so we have to deal with it in the strongest way we can.”

Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor earlier said the Premier League should look at installing crowd netting at grounds to prevent such incidents.

Both the FA and local police have begun investigations into the matter and Taylor said thought must be given as to how to prevent such incidents from happening again.

“I think you’ve got to give consideration to possibly, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags,” Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Ferdinand, meanwhile, attempted to make light of the clash after the game, while making a point of thanking his former international team-mate Hart for diffusing the situation.

“What a result, 3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin,what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p….could have at least been a £1 coin!,” Ferdinand wrote on Twitter.

“Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far…calm it.”

Mon 10 December, 2012
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