From next season, in a measure aimed at creating a safer experience, Ipswich Town have decided that any fan under five years old will be banned from lower-tier stand areas at Portman Road. Citing ‘safety fears’ and that several youngsters have been hit by “footballs flying into the crowd”, Ipswich Town F.C. have decided to implement these measures to protect their younger fan base from injury. Ipswich have also reported that they have turned away young families who have tried bringing babies into seats at the immediate pitchside area.
The decision that Town have taken, comes on the back of plans to improve on the ‘matchday experience’ for children during games at Portman Road. According to Ipswich Town, there are 76 children aged under five who are season ticket holders and from next season they [any family accompanying a child under five years old] will need to be seated in the all-family areas in the East of England Co-Operative Stand, with Blocks T, T2, U, U2 and U3 of the Cobbold Stand being declassified as ‘family areas’.
Obviously, this has upset many fans who regularly take their younger children to watch Ipswich with phrases such as “Health and safety has gone mad” and “it is an over-reaction” being bandied around. In response, an Ipswich Town spokesman has replied that the decision was made for ‘safety reasons’ in response to the danger footballs being hit into the crowd and that, after consultation, it was agreed that “under-fives was the figure we agreed on.” In order to remain fair to those affected, season ticket prices for that age-group have been frozen at this season’s rate.