A POLICE presence has been requested by managers at the Bowl – as the £3.3 million facility has become a Friday night meeting place for up to 100 rowdy local youths.
Concerns have been raised by Brian Callow, chairman of the IoM Junior Football League, following an incident in which a mother watching her son play in a match confronted a group of teenagers who refused to leave the pitch side, and then had a ball kicked in her face.
Mr Callow said: ‘It’s such a wonderful facility and it’s been brilliant for junior football.
‘There’s not been any problem with the sporting side but it seems to have become a Friday night meeting point for youths. One weekend there were a 100-plus kids there. There have been a lot of problems in terms of their behaviour and rowdiness.
‘Some of the kids are there to watch their mates play, but for most it’s just a meeting place.
‘It’s had no effect at all on the football but it has for those coming down to watch the matches who have had to hear abusive language and see bad behaviour with kids running around.’
Following a request by managers at the Bowl, police patrols have been arranged every Friday night with a camera unit in attendance once a month.
Additional CCTV cameras in the venue are also planned.
Mr Callow said the incident involving the mother who had a football kicked in her face happened two to three weeks ago and only came to light later when she spoke to a coach.
‘The club was not aware it had happened,’ he explained. ‘She took the ball in the face and was very upset.
‘The managers of the Bowl are going to install additional CCTV cameras and are definitely going to monitor the situation as they don’t want it to escalate at the expense of the sport.’
A spokesman for the Department of Community Culture and Leisure said: ‘The department is aware of two incidents that have taken place during junior football league matches at the Bowl Stadium.
‘The safety and enjoyment of everyone using our facilities is of paramount importance to us. We are working closely with league officials and community police officers to identify and deal with any potential issues in the future.’
The redeveloped Bowl Stadium in Douglas opened in August 2011 following a £3.3 million facelift, ahead of its role as centrepiece of the Commonwealth Youth Games the following month.
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