Football fans voice disappointment as police stop gathering after Wolves game

A group of Derby County supporters have voiced their disappointment after they were denied the chance of meeting up with friends after a match at Molineux.

Football fans voice disappointment as police stop gathering after Wolves game

Members of the Punjabi Rams agreed to enjoy post-match drink and food with their Wolves counterparts following the match at Molineux played on March 20.

They said they had alerted police about their movements, which had been agreed by the force in the West Midlands, but following the 2-0 defeat the fans got to their coaches only to be told they would not be allowed to go to the club to see their friends and were instead ushered on to the vehicles and back to Derby.

Pav Samra, from the Punjabi Rams, said: "It was really disappointing they denied us this opportunity.

"We are trying to show people that football fans can meet each other in a friendly environment, enjoy a drink, a meal and a laugh without any trouble yet we were told this time it wasn't going to happen.

"What is most frustrating is that we were given no reason why they were telling us to go straight back to Derby rather than meeting like-minded fans from a different team for a pre-arranged meet up that they had agreed could take place in the run up to the game."

In November, the Punjabi Rams welcomed more than 50 members of the Punjabi Wolves group for the corresponding fixture in Derby. The meet-up saw more than 100 people gather at The Sportsman, in Burton Road, to enjoy food and drinks together.

The Punjabi Wolves fans had agreed to reciprocate the gesture at the game last Friday but when the Punjabi Rams got to their coaches police told them to go straight home instead.

Mr Samra, 33, added: "We asked the officers why and told them this had been agreed with West Midlands Police but they would not give us an explanation. We are trying to show people that football fans can act in the same friendly and harmonious way as fans of rugby and cricket but being treated like this doesn't make things any easier for us to do this."

The Football Supporters Federation, which represents the rights of fans in England and Wales, called in Mr Samra to look at the issue.

Amanda Jacks, of the FSF, said: "I was very saddened to learn of the experiences of the Punjabi Rams away to Wolves. While they are at pains to stress that they do not deem the incident in any way racist, nonetheless, I cannot help but feel they group were discriminated against for the simple reason they are football supporters.

In response West Midlands Police spokeswoman Deb Edmonds said: "For the Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Derby County match on March 20, we were aware of a request for a coach carrying the Punjabi Rams to stop off at a pub four miles from the ground before the game. This request was granted, despite it contravening national guidelines from the Traffic Commissioner.

"The reason for allowing this contravention was due to the distance from the city centre.

"Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication, we only became aware of the request for the supporters' coach to drink at a bar in the city centre after the match had finished.

"We are unlikely to have granted this request as it contravenes the national guidelines about coaches leaving grounds within an hour of a match finishing.

"We are sorry if fans were under the impression this had been agreed."

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