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Flag protestors target top Irish League match

Crusaders player David Spence leaves Seaview after the Irish League game against Cliftonville was cancelled due to the ongoing flag protests

Crusaders player David Spence leaves Seaview after the Irish League game against Cliftonville was cancelled due to the ongoing flag protests

The Danske Bank Premier League match between Crusaders and Cliftonville was called off on security advice on Saturday afternoon following a protest outside the Seaview ground on the Shore Road in North Belfast.

Most Cliftonville supporters and many Crusaders supporters had been unable to gain access to the stadium.

The game, due to kick off at 3pm, was delayed until 3.20, but was called off at 3.10pm.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter said the situation was “outside of their control”.

“We were all prepared and ready for this game but we’ll just have to get on with it and come back to play it another day,” said Baxter.

His Cliftonville counterpart Tommy Breslin described the postponement of the match as “disappointing”.

“Win, lose or draw, we were just here for a game of football on a Saturday afternoon,” said Breslin.

“The clubs have co-operated closely in recent years and this will just bring them closer together again,” he said.

Later in a statement from both clubs, Crusaders FC chairman, Stephen Bell said: “Crusaders Football Club are deeply disappointed at the postponement of today’s game. It is a sad day for football.

“Crusaders Football Club would like to thank the local residents of Skegoniel Avenue for the considerable engagement that has taken place since November to manage this match.

“We are disappointed that these efforts have been undermined.

Together with Cliftonville Football Club, the IFA and PSNI a further statement will be issued in due course.

“We would like to thank the supporters of both clubs for their forbearance. The football family need to hold together in sport at this difficult time.”

Cliftonville Football Club said: “We are extremely disappointed that this afternoon’s football match versus Crusaders did not go ahead.

“We would like to thank our fans for their patience and co-operation today.

“There will be no further comment from the Club at this stage.”

 

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