Sunderland AFC issue statement after home fans are again targeted with missiles at Stadium of Light
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The incident occurred after Birmingham City opened the scoring in the game, and the club have reiterated their zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour.
The throwing of missiles has been a persistent issue this season and Saturday's incident has led to more calls from some Sunderland supporters to move away supporters back into the lower bowl, as was the case when the Stadium first opened.
"A pyrotechnic device was discharged in the North Stand Upper after Birmingham City opened the scoring in the 29th minute and it was subsequently thrown into the North Stand Lower.
"The individual responsible for this abhorrent act has been identified by CCTV and all relevant information has now been handed over to West Midlands Police, with Club representatives continuing to directly support those impacted.
"Fans are reminded that it is a criminal offence to attempt to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, or to be in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match.
"All identified offenders will be reported to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which may affect employment and education status, and could result in a prison sentence.
"SAFC has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour and remains committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all at the Stadium of Light."
Birmingham City issued a brief statement on social media during the half-time interval of the game, which said: "The club reiterates its zero-tolerance policy on pyrotechnics. In addition, anybody throwing missiles will be subject to disciplinary [action]."
Almost 1,500 supporters have signed a petition calling for away supporters to be moved, but the club decided earlier this year to leave the current arrangement in place for the time being and have already begun the season-card renewal process for next season. This decision was, the club said in February, taken after extensive dialogue with local authorities and the supporters' collective.
The club statement added that the increased safety measures implemented earlier in the season had made a significant impact, and added that the installation of netting had been considered but rejected as it would not have an impact on the missiles commonly used.
The statement added: "The review also considered a range of other implications alongside supporter safety, including stadium strategy, atmosphere and potential disruption to home fans should the stadium configuration change.
"The Club appreciates that any discussions relating to changes to the stadium and matchday experience could result in understandable concern and we thank all fans for their patience and support throughout the review period."
The club have also approached the EFL about further investigating the causes of behavioural issues at games.