Police are urging fans of Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday to demonstrate their passion in the right way ahead of the weekend’s much-anticipated Yorkshire derby at Elland Road on Saturday.
Several weeks of planning between the police, clubs and the football league, have taken place ahead of the 12.30pm kick-off to ensure genuine fans can enjoy the game and their time in Leeds.
Police have also issued a strong warning to what they described as “so-called fans” planning on becoming involved in disorder that any issues would be dealt with swiftly and any prosecution would include football banning orders.
Chief Supt Paul Money, Match Commander for the fixture, said: “With the end of the season approaching this is an attractive derby match with a lot at stake for both clubs.
“My aim, and that of both clubs, is to ensure this remains a safe and enjoyable fixture for both sets of supporters and the many families who will be in attendance.
“At the corresponding fixture earlier in the season we saw some unsavoury scenes perpetrated by a small minority that marred an entertaining game and actually upset the majority of respectful and well behaved supporters at the match.
“Over the past month, we have been working closely with both clubs and the football league to ensure genuine fans are able to enjoy the match and a visit to Leeds.
“As a Force we are very experienced at policing such big games and will have a significant operation in place, both at the ground and away from the stadium at key points across the city and county, to ensure public safety.
“Like the vast majority of supporters, I want this game to showcase what Yorkshire football fans are all about; namely passionately supporting their club and respecting the healthy local rivalries that exist. Anyone thinking of attending to cause disorder should think again. They will be arrested and we will apply to the courts for football banning orders.”
Leeds United Chief Executive Officer Shaun Harvey said: “What we saw and heard at Hillsborough in October crossed beyond the boundaries and we would remind fans that there is no place for behaviour or chanting like we saw that night.
“Our fans have been both the perpetrators and the victims of vile and sick chants in recent times, particularly with reference to our two fans who lost their lives in Istanbul 13 years, and we don’t believe there is any place for this in football.
“We would ask both sets of supporters attending Saturday’s game to keep their support within the confines of respectability, and to get behind their respective teams.”