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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 12:34 UK

Bulls face new crowd restrictions

Blackfriars End at Edgar Street
The Blackfriars End at Edgar Street will be closed this season

Hereford United face another reduction in their ground capacity unless a proposed evacuation drill goes well.

The Bulls chairman Graham Turner says they plan to carry out the drill at half-time during Monday's pre-season friendly against Bristol City.

"If we can't do it inside two-and-a-half minutes then the amount allowed in the stand will be adjusted accordingly.

"If it is a 2,000-seater stand and we can only get 1,500 out in the time, the capacity will be cut appropriately."

The club is appealing for fans to cooperate with the evacuation drill.

Turner admits it is unlikely the stand will be full for a pre-season game but the authorities have told him the drill will be run on a pro-rata basis with the time permitted for the evacuation being adjusted depending on the number of fans in the stand.

If we have got to reduce capacity to ensure supporters' safety then that is what we have got to do

Graham Turner

Supporters will be asked to leave the stand during half-time and make their way on to the pitch.

This news is the latest setback for Edgar Street officials who last week learned that their Blackfriars terracing had failed a health and safety check and so would be closed for the coming season.

Turner said: "There are a couple of problems on the Len Weston terracing as the barriers there are too long in the stretch, so we have to take a section out of the middle.

"Supporters can't be counted behind that stretch as it will become a radial gangway and as such supporters can't stand there.

"This will lead to a further reduction so the capacity is currently around 5,300 with more problems to come," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

United have already spent in excess of £25,000 on installing high-quality fire detection equipment in the rooms under the main stand.

"If we have got to reduce capacity to ensure supporters' safety then that is what we have got to do," Turner observed.

"But I was watching Wimbledon last week and there were 3-4,000 people sat on Henman Hill watching a big screen.

"They were on a grass bank with no crush barriers in sight so there seems to be one rule for tennis events and another for football stadiums.

"There are different rules, but we seem to be getting hit at the moment from all angles."

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