Arbroath Football Club has issued a statement to fans to address comments about the segregation arrangements for Saturday’s derby match against Forfar Athletic at Gayfield.
Posted on the club’s website and on their social media channels, the statement says: “The Board acknowledges the disquiet and inconvenience which this may cause some supporters and as such are taking the unusual step of issuing a response.
“One of the paramount responsibilities of the Board in relation to all fixtures played at Gayfield is to take all reasonable steps to ensure and safeguard the safety of all in attendance including players, supporters and match officials. Taking cognisance of this onerous responsibility the Board have very carefully assessed and considered all available information which has on balance led them to the decision that it is appropriate to put segregation arrangements in place.
“Whilst the views of the Club’s supporters are of course extremely important to the Board, the safety of all remains the Board’s paramount consideration. Additionally, the decisions of the Board are carefully monitored by the appropriate authorities not least of all the SPFL, the SFA and Police Scotland. Indeed following a fixture at Gayfield last season where there was some disorder, the Board’s actions and decisions were closely scrutinised to the extent that representatives of the Club were required to attend meetings to provide details of the Club’s match plan and to provide comfort as to what steps would be taken in future in order to minimise the likelihood of any such issues reoccurring.
“Please be assured that this decision was not taken lightly – it is never easy to achieve the correct balance and outcome for all. On this occasion however and having taken all relevant factors into account, the Board unanimously agreed that full segregation was appropriate, which decision has the support of Police Scotland.
“Finally, please also be assured that the circumstances of all future games played at Gayfield will be carefully assessed and considered on a game by game basis before any decision is made regarding segregation.”