Police present over fear of fan trouble

LONDON • Police will be stationed inside the London Stadium for the first time today, amid fears that some of the 200 fans that West Ham have promised to ban will be present for the club's top-flight clash with Stoke.

Officers will be stationed along an enlarged segregation area separating rival fans after clashes marred several West Ham games, the worst of which came during the League Cup fourth-round victory over Chelsea last Wednesday.

West Ham refused to say how many fans have been banned and admit that trying to identify them on CCTV has been more time-consuming as fans were not in their usual seats during the Cup tie.

The east London club and the stadium operator expect to issue bans to more than 200 people.

The sanctions will stop fans buying tickets and attending games but differ from banning orders as the latter can be imposed only by a magistrates' court.

About 150 season ticket-holders have been told to move - or accept a refund - to increase the segregation area. The move is part of a five-point plan to create a safe zone to separate rival fans.

About 2,900 supporters are expected to travel from Stoke.

Potters manager Mark Hughes has warned his side not to be distracted by playing at a new ground if they want to stretch their five-game unbeaten run.

"It's not a case for us going there and taking pictures of new stands or whatever, we're going there to do a job and that's our focus," he told Stoke's official website.

"We've had a run now of five games where we have been in a position where we feel our capabilities should be and we will be looking to maintain that."

THE TIMES, LONDON

WEST HAM V STOKE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Police present over fear of fan trouble'. Print Edition | Subscribe