Burnley FC v Blackburn Rovers under-21s match played behind closed doors
A statement released by the Clarets says: “Regrettably, supporters will not be admitted to this game.
“Burnley Football Club considered many factors in reaching this decision, along with our counterparts at Blackburn Rovers.
“After liaising with the police, it has been determined that the cost of staging this game will run in to five figures.”
The statement goies on to say that, at a previous two-legged Youth Cup semi-final between the clubs, in 2012, there were “incidents of unrest”, leading to several arrests and there is deemed to be “a high risk factor for further unrest”, especially were there to be a scaled down level of policing.
“Without the benefit of a window for advance sales, Burnley Football Club is unable to estimate accurately the level of interest in the tie from supporters of both clubs,” says the statement, going on: “In addition, neither club wishes to jeopardise the goodwill generated by well-behaved supporters of both clubs in recent first team meetings, most notably the Championship game at Ewood Park on Saturday, October 24th, which passed off without major incident.”
A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said: “After consultation with Burnley Football Club, Lancashire Constabulary support the decision that has been taken to play the forthcoming U21 Premier League match between Burnley and Blackburn Rovers behind closed doors.
“Lancashire understand this decision is, in part, due to the high level of club stewarding and police presence required by Lancashire Constabulary and the resulting costs of such policing, due to recent troubles at similar youth fixtures.
“It is felt the additional security required to manage this fixture safely, with fans in attendance, would be disproportionate in the circumstances.
“In common with all police forces, Lancashire Constabulary uses national guidance as to what charges may apply for the policing of events.
“This is designed to balance the additional police support to fixtures such as this, against the needs of the community for routine police services.
“These decisions are becoming particularly important in the context of the significant budget cuts the Force faces in the coming years.”
A Burnley Football Club sdded: “We fully appreciate this decision will disappoint the majority of supporters who would welcome the opportunity to cheer on the club’s youngsters.
“However, we hope supporters will understand the reasons behind the decision.”