Sunderland slash Portsmouth play-off semi-final allocation following pyrotechnic controversy
The Fratton faithful’s Stadium of Light presence has been slashed by more than a third for their League One play-off semi-final opener.
It is understood the reduced allocation is a direct consequence of the pyrotechnic which landed in Sunderland’s family section during the previous encounter between the clubs.
Pompey supporter Samuel Parrott, 18, of Norton Drive, Fareham, was subsequently charged with the throwing of missiles at a designated sporting event.
As a result of the first-half incident in last month’s 1-1 draw, Sunderland have now acted upon the advice of their safety advisory group.
The outcome means Pompey have 2,000 tickets for the May 11 play-off semi-final first leg – compared to 3,222 sold for the recent league fixture.
According to regulations, home clubs are required to hand over at least 2,000 seats or 10 per cent of the stadium capacity to visiting fans.
And Sunderland have distributed the bare minimum for the eagerly-anticipated fixture.
Mark Catlin, Pompey’s chief executive, said: ‘Obviously our ticket allocation is a decision for Sunderland – and I believe it to be as a result of their safety advisory group’s recommendation.
‘We are in constant contact to see if we can get that increased but, unfortunately, our last game had a few incidents and I believe has had an adverse effect.
‘From my understanding, before our last game at Sunderland, the club were very nervous as a result of what happened with Coventry.
‘The information is there were then some widely-reported incidents from our recent fixture – and their safety advisory group have subsequently taken the decision to just give us 2,000 tickets.
‘It is under review, we are still working with Sunderland on it, and hopefully that can be increased.
‘When it comes to the safety advisory group, the club (Sunderland) have an input but don’t have the final say. We have no input, it is down to the home club and the safest way they feel they can manage a game at their stadium.
‘When we played there, there were a number of incidents on the day. Not all were necessarily Pompey-related, however, concerns have been raised.
‘It’s Sunderland’s event, 2,000 tickets is the minimum requirement, which they have met, and really it is down to them. There’s not a lot we can influence.’
Mr Parrott is currently on bail to appear before South Tyneside Magistrates Court on May 14.
Meanwhile, Pompey are awaiting their own fate, with a fine the likely punishment.
Catlin added: ‘We are currently dealing with the FA and relevant authorities on that issue.
‘We received a letter asking for our observations on the incident and how we tried to prevent it from our side.
‘That can be anything from educating fans to getting notices out there that it’s unacceptable, such things help our case.
‘Now we’re wanting to hear their verdict.’