Falkirk call on SFA to extinguish fans’ obsession with flares

Falkirk want the SFA's help in discouraging fans from bringing flares to games
Falkirk want the SFA's help in discouraging fans from bringing flares to games

Falkirk have called for the SFA to work with clubs to help stamp out football fans’ “dangerous” habit of lighting flares at matches.

The Bairns board of directors were forced to call in the repairmen this week after the club’s new state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface was damaged by a pyrotechnic thrown from the away end during Saturday’s Scottish Cup game with Rangers.

The pitch was less severely damaged than first feared and was repaired in time for Tuesday evening’s under-20s match against Celtic to go ahead as planned. Although Rangers have agreed to foot the bill, the incident left Falkirk staff furious.

The flare was thrown shortly after full-time as fans of the Glasgow club celebrated their 2-0 victory. It was quickly extinguished by a nearby steward but still left a two-foot scar in the pitch.

Despite the missile coming from the Rangers end, Falkirk could find themselves in trouble with the SFA as they are responsible for match day security at Westfield.

Falkirk general manager David White told Heraldsport this week that the club had done all it could to prevent fans carrying such devices inside the ground.

“We had 95 stewards on duty for the game, as well as a police presence,” he said. “We would have exactly the same security operation in place if we were to play Rangers again next week.

“It is not possible to frisk every single fan who enters the stadium. These flares are very easy to conceal.

“But something needs to be done before someone gets seriously hurt. Smoke bombs are a nuisance, but flares burn at an intense heat. You only have to look at the damage one caused to our pitch.

“The clubs, along with the SFA, need to educate fans that bringing flares to football matches is simply not acceptable.”

Flares were also lit during Albion Rovers’ weekend cup match with Motherwell.

SFA president Campbell Ogilvie said this week that the association would work closely with clubs to eradicate the problem.

He added: “We have got to get to the root of the problem and stop the behaviour in the first place.”