Police have asked FIFA to allow the new substitute rule to be relaxed for Southampton’s upcoming clash with fierce rivals Portsmouth.
The Daily Mail report that authorities have asked for the new substitute rule, that has been implemented by FIFA this season that allows players to leave the pitch at any point of the field now rather than the dugout, to be ignored for the Saints future trip to Fratton Park in an attempt to lower the risk of danger for players.
Southampton’s rivalry with Portsmouth is one of the most documented in English football, and this month will see the two clubs face-off against one another for the first time in nearly seven years when both sides were in the Championship.
Violence is not common in the South Coast Derby, but there have been enough stories this decade to explain why the police are asking for new substitute rule to be relaxed when the two clubs meet at Fratton Park.
In 2010, twelve fans were sentenced to prison for up to 32 months as bricks, bottles and chairs were reportedly thrown outside St. Mary’s after a 4-1 win for Portsmouth in the FA Cup according to the BBC, whilst in 2004, rioting Pompey fans marred the fixture as a mini-cavalry of officers on horseback were repeatedly forced to charge at groups of violent supporters as The Southern Daily Echo report.
With the latest edition of the derby this month taking place at Fratton Park, a ground that saw home supporters punch and kick Sunderland defender Luke O’Nien as he fell into the crowd during the League One play-off semi-finals as The Telegraph report, it seemingly makes sense for local authorities to ask FIFA to allow players to leave the pitch near the dugout.
With the BBC also reporting that travelling Southampton fans will have no “coach bubble” from police, it is likely going to be a heated affair for both sets of supporters on the 24th September.