English Premiership

Fergie, Rodgers reject netting

2012-12-14 20:09
Sir Alex Ferguson (AFP Photo)

London - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers have joined forced to slam talk of introducing safety nets to protect players from objects thrown by fans.

After United defender Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin as he celebrated Robin van Persie's decisive late goal in United's win at Manchester City last weekend, the Professional Footballers' Assocation called for the introduction of nets between fans and the pitch.

But Ferguson feels that, despite a similar incident at Chelsea earlier in the season, that would be a step too far.

"I know you see netting behind the goal in some grounds," Ferguson said.

"(Borussia) Dortmund have that and there have been a couple of occasions where it's happened.

"It happened at Chelsea and then here (at City) but it's not a consistent thing. Stewarding is a better policy I think."

Ferguson rarely gets much support from Liverpool managers when he goes public with his views on controversial issues, but Rodgers agrees with the Scot that nets are not the way forward.

The subject of fans being fenced in is an especially raw topic at Anfield after 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the terraces of Hillsborough before an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

"What happened last week was scandalous, it could have taken out Rio Ferdinand's eye. But to go back to what it was years ago or putting nets up, I don't see that as a way forward," Rodgers said.

"You get one or two mindless people at games and the focus has to be on them.

"How can we punish them so they never get the chance to do it again, not punish the other 40, 50, 60 thousand people. They are there for the passion and love of the sport."

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