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Chants and security men raise hackles

By Peter Deeley

9 June 1998

CROWD problems at the Edgbaston Test are to be considered this week by Warwickshire. The club reported that record numbers were ejected from the ground -116 - during the first three days, including 63 on Saturday. Many complaints were lodged about excessive chanting from sections of the day's 19,000 capacity crowd.

Dennis Amiss, the club's chief executive, also said that allegations that the security company for the game had used excessive force towards some spectators were also being investigated.

``There may have been a bit of over-reaction by stewards on Saturday but there were exceptional circumstances,'' Amiss said.

``We are also aware of allegations that some alcohol confiscated from the public may have been taken away.'' The club have been told that beer taken from spectators by stewards was seen being loaded into cars.

Warwickshire employed a northern security company who work for Manchester United football club and Lancashire and were hired by Yorkshire to counter trouble on the infamous Western Terrace at Headingley.

``Tolerance levels at grounds are now probably smaller than we have been used to and that is why the number of arrests and ejections has increased,'' Amiss added. ``With hindsight we should probably have closed the bars for a few hours when there was no play on Saturday morning.''

The England and Wales Cricket Board have a sub-committee considering the issue but there presently seems no answer to the mania for prolonged mass chanting at major matches.

Spectators in the Rea Bank, the cheapest public area, said obscene language (Mark Ealham was a primary target) and continual movement had ruined their day.

However, some England players appreciated the loud support. Somehow ECB will have to reconcile the divergent attitudes towards this latest variety of crowd behaviour (or misbehaviour, according to your view).

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 09 Jun1998 - 06:19