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Reading call off the dogs

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Fan power has forced Premier League club
Reading into a u-turn over the proposed trial introduction of drug
sniffer dogs at home fixtures.

The
Royals had accepted an offer from private security company ICTS, and a
drug detection drug scheme which was scheduled to take place at this
weekend’s game against Manchester United.

But concerted pressure from Reading fans, including FSF National
Council member and STAR (Supporters’ Trust At Reading) deputy Chairman
Jon Keen, caused the club to reconsider their position and call off the
dogs.
“This was not a police initiative and we simply accepted the offer of
a trial from a private company”, explained Reading’s Head of
Communications Andy West.

“It was never planned to actively search people and the initiative was
primarily training exercise for private security company ICTS, but we
do not want to upset supporters so the plans have been cancelled.

“We do not believe, and have never believed, that we have a problem
with drugs at Madejski Stadium, and we understand the public’s reaction
to the plans – we have no intention of offending any supporters so the
trial will not be taking place.”

And the Royal’s reconsideration has been warmly welcomed by Keen and his FSF and STAR colleagues.

“I’m delighted that Reading have listened to the concerns of their supporters and cancelled this experiment”, Keen said.

“The
message this proposed trial sent out to supporters and the outside
world was that drugs was yet another problem that could be levied at
football supporters, when this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

And Keen hopes more clubs will follow Reading’s example and consult their fans over issues which directly affect them.

“Of
course, it’s regrettable that this trial was set-up without first
consulting supporters, but all credit to Reading FC for acting quickly
and cancelling it once we did raise objections. Many other clubs could
do well to follow Reading’s example.”

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