World Cup
Image: Warwick Media Library (2014)

World Cup matches no longer screened on piazza due to unruly behaviour

The University of Warwick has confirmed on social media and the website that World Cup matches will no longer be screened on the Big Screen in the piazza.

The University said the decision was made made in order to “continue to safeguard students, staff and visitors on the piazza”.

There were reports of unruly behaviour during the match screenings, with some fans commenting on the University’s Facebook post that locals were throwing cans at students during the England vs Colombia match.

The University confirmed for The Boar that an arrest took place on campus during the screening of the match and that disruptive behaviour contributed to the decision. When contacted for comment, the University told The Boar: “Sadly the decision is simply because we have reached the limit on what we can handle. We went to very great lengths to make Saturday’s screening happen.

“We created a fan zone, decanted drinks into plastics, providing water at first aid stations, hired many more extra stewards and security personnel etc but the team on the ground thought that they had reached their limit on what we could safely cope with and they did not feel that they could source even more sufficiently trained staff and resources to safely run the semi-final match if numbers continued to grow.

“The semi-final event would be particularly problematic to run safely with two scheduled events on main campus for under 18s being in close proximity for part of the game.

It did not help that sadly a significant number of attendees simply ignored our attempts to establish a safe fanzone deliberately undermining the safety of the event … throwing a smoke bomb which ended up landing beside the wheel chair using fans.

– Peter Dunn, director of press and policy

“It did not help that sadly a significant number of attendees simply ignored our attempts to establish a safe fanzone deliberately undermining the safety of the event, the arrest was just one aspect of this, as was the throwing of a smoke bomb which ended up landing beside the wheel chair using fans.”

The decision of the University gave rise to mixed opinions, with people taking to social media to express their views. One student commented: “Cancelling something because it’s too popular… Well done ??? maybe stop random non-uni people from showing up!”

Another said: “Absolute killjoys… the one thing in this whole term to look forward to and you can’t trust adults to look after themselves… sad and disappointing.”

Another person commented: “Great decision. The behaviour at the England – Sweden game was appalling. Worse than I have ever experienced on the terraces in a stadium at a football game. The only people to blame for this are those that were there. It was a fine demonstration of a part of English culture at its worst. The surprise would have been if the Uni did continue to show the games.”

Others also expressed support for the decision, commenting that the screenings had affected their studies: “It has affected postgrad students who are writing their dissertation during this period. I am glad the University stop screening.”

West Midlands Police has been contacted for more information about an alleged arrest.

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Comments (2)

  • As the Head of Campus Security with the responsibility with my team for keeping people in our community safe, I worked the England v Sweden game to experience and assess the behaviours of supporters. This followed a number of justifiable complaints after the Columbia match where Columbian supports and a disabled member of staff were targeted and had bottles and cans thrown at them. We put measures in place for the Sweden game to try to reduce the risk and these largely worked. During the game, however, I observed significant drug taking and inappropriate behaviour, foul language and smoke grenades being thrown. We took the decision not to intervene beyond issuing warnings due to the risk of significant disorder. After the game, another wheelchair user was assaulted and the offender was apprehended by Campus Security. That person was subsequently arrested and found to be in possession of Class A drugs. Anyone present will have seen the frankly ridiculous amount of litter that our hard-working Estates team then had to clear up. I felt the risks to well-behaved supporters, security officers and other staff in places like Rootes Grocery Store, if we were to show the semi-final, were risks that we should not take. I firmly stand by that view and cannot be persuaded otherwise.

    It’s worth mentioning, also, that police support was not available due to a lack of resources on their part.

    Additionally, we have graduation ceremonies starting a week Tuesday and we need to ensure Central Campus looks immaculate, not suffering from the remnants of another week of heavy drinking and potential violence by people not from the University who have no respect for our environment. I have no wish to appear a killjoy, I just strongly believe that the risks to safety and security were such that the only sensible decision was that future screenings should not go ahead. I am truly sorry that decent supporters looking to have a great time have lost out due to the poor and criminal behaviour by a minority intent on getting completely inebriated, throwing smoke bombs and other missiles about, abusing our students and staff, and putting innocent people, including children, in danger. Enough is enough.

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