The Police Service of Northern Ireland has teamed up with Ballymena United and Coleraine FC to encourage supporters of both clubs to show respect and tolerance.
Speaking at the launch of #LoveYourClub, Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: “There is a lot of support for Irish football, not just here in Ballymena, but across the country and for the most part people are there to cheer on their side, watch some good football and have a great day out.
“The purpose of this partnership campaign is to demonstrate that you can show your love for your team without getting involved in fights and disorder with rival supporters and we are appreciative of the backing of both clubs in sharing this message.”
As part of the campaign recognisable representatives from both teams have recorded video clips that will be shared on PSNI social media platforms in the lead up to derby matches.
The clubs will also be supporting these messages on their own Facebook pages and asking fans to get on-board and show their love for their club.
Ballymena United Chairman John Taggart said: “There is nothing that beats the roar of a home crowd at one of our games and we are grateful for the massive support we get from our fans.
“Reputation matters to all football clubs and we are no different at Ballymena United. We want to know that our fans are out there cheering us on and at the same time being respectful to others so we would ask everyone to support the #LoveYourClub campaign.”
Coleraine FC Chairman Colin McKendry added: “We know our supporters are passionate about our club and we appreciate their commitment to the Bannsiders.
“Our reputation is important and we want to make sure our fans are representing us in a positive way both at home and away. I would ask that fans get behind this campaign and share this message with family, friends and fellow supporters.”
Football fans will be able to see the video clips on social media on Saturday, March 4, when Ballymena entertain Coleraine in the quarterfinal of the Tennent’s Irish Cup.