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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 12:08 GMT
Arrests as Cardiff troubles continue
Sam Hammam, scenes of club violence at Cardiff City logo
As the row continues over Sam Hammam's minder being a convicted soccer hooligan, South Wales Police have made eight further arrests after violence at Cardiff City.

Detectives visited 12 addresses in the south Wales area early on Friday morning.

Neil MacNamara and Sam Hammam
Neil MacNamara with Mr Hammam on Sunday
The arrests were made after violent clashes during the FA Cup third round tie with Leeds United and crowd trouble at Cardiff's league match against Bristol City in December.

Meanwhile, the club's owner Sam Hammam has waged a "war against football violence", after it emerged one of his minders was a convicted hooligan.

In the culmination of a nightmare week for the club, the Football Associations of England and Wales are meeting to discuss action against the club which witnessed scenes of missile-throwing and crowd disturbances last weekend.

The eight men arrested on Friday are now in custody at various Cardiff police stations for alleged criminal offences including public order, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

More arrests are planned for Friday.

Fan pitch invasion at Cardiff
Police were forced to deal with a pitch invasion

Four men have already been charged after being arrested during violence at Sunday's game.

They are due to appear before the city's magistrates on the 17 January charged with public order offences.

Speaking about another crisis for the Bluebirds, chairman Sam Hammam insisted he will continue to employ security guard Neil MacNamara, after it emerged the man is a convicted soccer hooligan.

And during the same interview with BBC Wales on Friday, Mr Hammam also announced a "war on hooliganism" at the club.

Mr MacNamara, 37, from Nantgarw, was sacked by the club's security firm Unisec after the revelations about his past emerged.

But Mr Hammam has insisted he wants Mr MacNamara "by his side at Cardiff City" claiming he was a "poacher-turned-gamekeeper".

We are announcing a war on hooliganism and we hope that other people in the football world, and particularly in Wales, will follow suit

Cardiff City chairman Sam Hammam
"If people have been completely rehabilitated as a civilised society dictates, they are welcome and are treated with respect," he said.

It is believed that Mr MacNamara is known to the National Criminal Intelligence Service's unit which deals with football hooliganism.

He was seen accompanying Mr Hammam during his controversial walk around the pitch in Cardiff's 2-1 victory over Leeds.

Mr MacNamara had recently completed a 12-month ban from every football ground in the UK.

In March 2000, he was arrested at an away match in Blackpool and admitted a charge of threatening and abusive behaviour when he appeared before Blackpool magistrates.

He was fined 100, with 60 costs, and the court also placed the 12-month ban.

'Hooliganism war'

A senior South Wales Police source is reported to have said: "In my view, Mr MacNamara should not be guarding Sam Hammam.

"A lot of the fans know Mr MacNamara is a convicted soccer yob - it will only encourage them to misbehave if they see him acting as Hammam's minder," added the source.

Mr Hammam has said he is committed to ridding the club of hooligan elements.

"On Saturday, we are announcing a war on hooliganism and we hope that other people in the football world, and particularly in Wales, will follow suit," he added.

"Cardiff should be a major Premier League club, but we cannot be there if hooligans are going to continue ruling."

BBC Wales's Caroline Evans
"The man at the centre, Neil MacNamara, was not at home"
See also:

08 Jan 02 | Cardiff City
Hammam to stop pitch-side walks
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