A new joint initiative from the EFL and Sheffield Wednesday setting out punishable behaviour to supporters at Hillsborough, and away from home, has drawn a mixed reaction among supporters.
Following a worrying report from the UK Football Policing Unit, the Owls have called out a ‘minority’ of fans that are bringing the club’s name ‘into disrepute’.
The League One side issued a statement on Friday evening, ahead of the home clash against Charlton Athletic, including a written warning of offences and subsequent potential bans for each.
The written warning includes how potential one-year bans could be awarded for offences such as drinking alcohol in view of the pitch and foul and abusive language.
Many Owls supporters online have condemned the measures as too harsh and impractical to enforce.
While the statement has incurred sneering from fans of many clubs, there are those within Sheffield Wednesday who welcome some of the measures as necessary.
Peter Løhmann, Sheffield Wednesday fan and co-host of the ‘Owls About Stat’ fan podcast, supports the proposals introduced as a whole and hopes it is the first step in banning those who are openly homophobic and racist at games.
“My interest is in the red box, that’s the key one for me,” he told Sheffield Wire.
“It’s no secret that I majorly disagree with the decision the club and Darren Moore took as manager to not take the knee this season.
“When the other team takes the knee, there are significant booing sounds, from hundreds, even thousands doing it.
“Almost every other club in the division has continued to do so, and this decision has emboldened the racists and fans who shouldn’t be a part of our community.”
Mr Løhmann says that he no longer feels safe bringing his 9-year-old to away matches, in fear of violence or discriminatory behaviour.
“I’ve seen hundreds of people say they’ve stopped going to away games because they don’t feel safe anymore,” he continued.
“I don’t think it stops the idiots being idiots, but it stops the idiots being idiots inside Hillsborough if we want to.”
Sheffield Wednesday concluded the statement, stating: “The Owls are proud to report sell-out followings at almost every stadium we visit, alas the behaviour of a minority could lead to reduced allocations for the majority.
Without fans, football is nothing. But fans who bring Sheffield Wednesday and our good name into disrepute are simply not welcome at Hillsborough or beyond.”
The Owls continued their recent on-field success on Saturday, comfortably defeating Charlton 2-0 to climb into the play-off places.