Sport

FIFA warns Jamaica after field invasion

Thursday, September 20, 2012    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) — The world's governing body for football, FIFA, has reprimanded Jamaica after fans invaded the field following the Reggae Boyz historic win over the United States in a World Cup qualifier in Kingston earlier this month.

FIFA has also threatened to penalise the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) if there is a repeat of the incident which occurred at the National Stadium on September 7.

Scores of ecstatic fans scaled a fence on the Bleachers side of the stadium and swarmed the players after Jamaica rebounded to beat the US 2-1, for the first time in 22 outings.

JFF president Captain Horace Burrell is promising to beef-up security personnel for future matches.

"They have also informed us that if this happens again, very serious sanctions will be taken against Jamaica so let me appeal to spectators not to ever run on to the field," Burrell told reporters in Kingston.

"Going forward we will also have a lot more security personnel in that area to prevent it."

Some media reports in Kingston have suggested that the pitch invasion occurred because of a lack of basic security measures which, they say, should have been in place.

In 1997, a similar pitch invasion occurred after the Reggae Boyz qualified for the FIFA World Cup of France 1998.

"It is a wrong practice because we could be penalised and all our home games moved out of the National Stadium," Burrell warned in reference to the incident on September 7.

"If it is felt that invading the field is a threat to the players and the officials, then FIFA would simply ban the National Stadium as a venue for play."

Meantime, the person responsible for the Reggae Boyz security for the past 15 years, Robert Finzi-Smith, has accepted blame for the field invasion at the 'Office'.

"The field invasion the other day was unfortunate as we didn't anticipate it," said Smith, a former Jamaican soldier and 30-odd-year veteran in security matters.

"In retrospect, my thought process was to ensure that people got out of the stadium safely because of the vast crowd. It was my fault and it will never happen again," Smith was quoted in the Jamaica Observer.

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