Chorley Council apologises for saying football fans were not welcome in town
Chorley Council has apologised for any offence caused by its attempts to keep unruly football fans out of the town.
A letter sent to neighbouring Premier League and Sky Bet Football League clubs Burnley, Bolton, Preston, Wigan and Blackburn suggested travelling football supporters were not welcome amid claims that shoppers had been intimidated by large groups congregating outside local pubs.
However, the council has now moved to clarify its position, insisting fans on their way to nearby venues are welcome, but not in large groups.
A statement said: ‘In the letter, it stated that travelling away fans would not be welcome in Chorley – this is not the case we do welcome football fans and we apologise for this comment and any offence this may have caused.
‘We do welcome football fans and the vast majority are extremely well behaved, add to the atmosphere and support our local businesses.
‘What we can’t have – and which is what triggered the concerns from traders – is a situation where large groups of fans are gathering in pubs, spilling out on to the streets and intimidating, or being seen to be intimidating other people using the town centre.
‘It is a small minority of people that have been spoiling it for others in the past and it is the unruly fans who are causing anti-social behaviour that are not welcome.’
The council is to write to the clubs concerned to clarify its stance and outline its hopes for an amicable solution to the problem.
The statement continued: ‘We apologise again for any offence this has caused and we would like to wish football fans of all clubs a successful season, and hopefully we’ll see you in Chorley over the coming weeks and months.’