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  Monday, 18 June, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Stopping the invasion
Stewards try their best to deal with the crowd at Headingley
Stewards struggled to deal with the crowd at Headingley
As new security measures are introduced for the Australia and Pakistan clash at Trent Bridge, BBC Sport Online considers cricket's options for dealing with pitch invasions.

1. Extra stewards and police

A higher security presence would certainly assist in controlling the crowd but would have had limited impact in preventing hundreds of spectators invading the pitch at Headingley on Sunday.

Without any legislation in place to deal with crowd invasions at cricket, there is very little security personnel can do, apart from politely push the spectators back.

The main benefit would be to boost co-operation with the fans, promoting a more congenial atmosphere within the stadium.

2. Government legislation

The ECB is working with the Home Office in attempting to push through legislation, for the short and long term, with the aim of making it a criminal offence for spectators to enter the playing arena.

Alec Stewart was unhappy with the invasion at Headingley
Alec Stewart is keen on a fining system

New laws would be a deterrent to potential pitch invaders, with the threat of arrest, fines and banning from future games.

Without such legislative measures, stewards and police are rendered powerless to deal with offenders. The impracticalities of dealing with hundreds of arrests could in any case prove to be a stumbling block.

3. Fines

Fining could be a major component of any new legislation - England skipper Alec Stewart has championed the cause for this measure following his Headingley experiences at the weekend.

The Australian cricket authorities have successfully introduced an automatic A$10,000 (3,700) fine for stepping on the field of play - and there is little doubt such punitive measures would heavily discourage potential offenders.

The administration needed in dealing with the fining of fans from Britain and particularly overseas, however, would be extensive and incredibly time consuming.

4. Fences

This measure appears to be one of the most contentious, particularly considering perimeter fencing was banished from football in Britain in the early 1990s.

Trent Bridge will introduce plastic barriers for the Australia and Pakistan clash and it is hoped this will dissuade anybody from running onto the pitch.

Fans watch a practice session at Trent Bridge
Plastic fences will be in place at Trent Bridge

The Rugby Football Union has successfully used plastic barriers at Twickenham but doubts remain as to whether the cricket crowds will just see a plastic fence as a temporary hurdle on the way to the pitch.

There are also concerns about hampering the view for spectators and the concept of fans being treated like animals.

Other measures:

The introduction of police dogs at matches, riot police, removal of passports and CCTV would be considered to be some of the more extreme possibilties.

Furthermore, the English cricket authorities will have to deal with the fact that it is generally deemed socially acceptable to enter the playing arena after a cricket match. That is both for presentations and for families to play on the outfield during intervals.

Click here to have your say on the introduction of fences

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The injured steward is strechered off the Headingly pitch Crowd control
Should fencing be used at cricket grounds?
See also:

18 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
18 Jun 01 | Cricket
18 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
17 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
17 Jun 01 | NatWest Series
Links to more NatWest Series stories are at the foot of the page.


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