DFC | Dundalk FC to take a hard line on supporters with flares
Connolly says FAI could close sections of Oriel Park if problem persists
General manager Martin Connolly says Dundalk FC will adopt a zero tolerance approach to anyone who uses flares at the club’s matches.
The Lilywhites are coming under increased pressure from the FAI to eradicate the problem and are fearful that a section of Oriel Park will be closed if it persists.
With that in mind, Connolly says the club have been left with no option but to clamp down hard on those who continue to ignore the regulations.
“We’ve been coming under a lot of pressure from the FAI — and that, in turn, could be UEFA — regarding the use of flares in the stadium,” he told Dundalk Sport.
“One of the options open to the FAI is to close the area of the ground that is causing the problem so it’s important that we let the supporters know that.
Flares were rarely on display in the opening months of the campaign but a number were lit before the game against Cork City on June 2nd.
“We worked hard on it earlier in the season but we had a situation at the last home game where a couple of people were removed from the ground and their season tickets removed,” Connolly revealed.
“The people that were apprehended were apprehended with the help of our supporters. We have to take a stronger hand and we have to try and curb it because flares are deadly, dangerous things.
“If something did happen it would be a disaster for the club and the people involved and there is a real concern that if it continues the FAI can, and will, close the area of the ground where it is persistently happening.”
Connolly added that Dundalk FC will also be fined for the use of flares at last week’s Louth Derby in United Park.
“Some people might think that you don’t get fined if you do it at someone else’s ground but that’s a myth. The club does get fined and we expect to be fined for last week.
“But it’s not about the money,” he added. “This is about the safety of supporters and the safety of young people.
“It’s mostly young people who are doing it and what you will find is that some innocent bystander will get badly hurt and then there will be serious consequences for all concerned.”
Oriel Park will play host to a Champions League Qualifier with Rosenborg in three weeks time and after feeling the wrath of UEFA for the display of Palestinian flags in 2014, Connolly reiterated that the club would be adopting a hard line to offenders.
“The club is taking the flare situation seriously, the owners are taking it very seriously, the FAI are taking it seriously and UEFA will take it very seriously.
“Unfortunately, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to supporters,” he concluded, “and maybe we have to get it through to them in a more aggressive manner because it is such a serious issue.”