Yesterday evening, Clapton FC faced Metropolitan Police FC in London Senior Cup. Sadly, the cops won 3:1.
The game was supposed to take place upon absence of Clapton FC supporters, as Metropolitan Police Football Club has banned all away fans from the fixture on Wednesday night due to the alleged behaviour of a group of the team’s supporters. The decision, announced just a couple of days before the game, has been taken by the Met on account of the Clapton Ultras fan group.
The cop football club, based in East Molesey, has issued a statement in which they say:
Following lengthy discussions with Clapton Football Club Officials and information received through Football Intelligence sources it has been decided that away fans will not be permitted entry to this game. Sadly for Clapton, they suffer from a group of ‘supporters’ who refer to themselves as Ultras and have established a pattern of unacceptable behaviour when visiting grounds for away matches in which Clapton are involved.
Clapton Ultras is formed of a small group of left-wing fans from East London. They are known for their radical anti-fascist, anti-sexist and anti-racist politics, community projects such as food bank collections, and campaigning against homophobia in football. Thanks to them, the atmosphere at some Clapton games can be rather rowdy and energetic, and in the past their politics attracted the attention of far right. For example, they have been attacked with weapons and missiles by a group of far-right hooligans at Thamesmead football ground. Thamesmead police initially blamed Clapton Ultras for the incident, but later had to apologise for doing so.
In their statement regarding the ban, Clapton Ultras commented:
It is difficult to imagine exactly what the Metropolitan Police Football Club in East Molesey in Surrey is so worried about. After all, it is unique amongst clubs in the Isthmian Premier League in having ground owners who have their own armoury, helicopters and riot vehicles.
In response to the ban, Clapton Ultras turned up at the match anyway, to “pledge our solidarity, for as long as it takes” with the families of Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles, who died in police custody in east London over the summer. Their statement reads:
The Clapton Ultras have been accused this week of “an unacceptable pattern of behaviour” by the football club with close links to the Metropolitan Police. We think it should look a lot closer to home for unacceptable behaviour, to the legacy of sustained trauma and profound personal loss caused by the institution that bears the club’s name and experienced by grieving relatives whose loved ones have died in police custody.
Kudos to Clapton Ultras for their “unacceptable behaviour“, namely promoting the ideas of anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-homophobia at football grounds.
Pics: Clapton Ultras