Coronavirus Rules: Coleraine Explains Why Fans Went To Game After Rules Said Not To

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Friday night’s game was broadcast live on the BBC Sport NI website

Fans attended the Irish Premiership’s season opener, just over an hour after their ban was announced.

Fans had already arrived at Ballycastle Road for the Coleraine-Ballymena United game when the announcement was made by the Northern Ireland executive.

Bannsiders president Colin McKendry said there were also fans waiting outside and the club decided it was safer to let them into the ground.

“I took the advice of the police,” he said.

Coleraine expected a limited number of supporters to be allowed to attend the game and McKendry said a number of fans were already in the ground by the time he arrived.

He said the club then had to decide what to do for the fans in the stadium and those waiting on the street at the gate to enter.

“We were waiting for advice and the announcement was made around 7:00 pm that there would be no supporters in the ground,” McKendry added.

“Our council had to make a decision on the basis of a breach of public order that was being created outside our territory. We had people crowding outside.

“We had to open the doors because people were starting to get mad, so we felt they would be safer inside our soil than outside. Therefore, we opened the doors because we were worried that someone might get hurt outside.

“The advice we got was that it was up to the club to make the decision, but we had no further decisions to make if we wanted to prevent people from getting injured.

“It wasn’t ideal. We made a conscious decision and I don’t know what will result. We felt that people were safer inside the ground than outside. “

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