Police issue appeal for calm after fans assaulted

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Police in Ballymena are appealing for calm with regards to football matches in the town, after the Ballymena United v Linfield match on Wednesday.

Inspector Heather Scott said: “Prior to the match, a number of persons were assaulted in the town centre, whilst heading to the match. A police investigation is ongoing, and CCTV will be thoroughly reviewed, with a view to identifying suspects for a variety of offences. However, at this stage, it appears that the majority of the suspects will be juveniles.

“This follows on from previous matches, which have also been marred by trouble before and after the matches, involving groups of fans fighting. A lot of this appears to be related to inter town rivalries.

“Violence has no place in football. Persons going to matches, with the intent to cause trouble, are not supporters. They are harming the club they are claiming to support. They are damaging the reputation of the club they claim to support. They are damaging the reputation of the town they claim to be defending. They are running the risk of being caught, and, if convicted of an offence, being banned from football matches and ending up with a criminal record which could impact on future life choices.

“If anyone witnessed any of the incidents prior to the match, please contact police on 101.”