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Chelsea fans charged after clash with stewards at Premier League match with Southampton at St Mary's
Updated 4:43pm Sunday 5th January 2014 in News
FOUR Chelsea fans were arrested following an alleged altercation with stewards at the clash with Saints on New Year’s Day.
The arrests were made after a blue smoke flare was set off by fans in the Chelsea away section and stewards went to eject them.
The stewards attempted to seize the flare but two were pushed and pulled by two Chelsea fans.
Joseph Ridgeway, 23, of Barmouth Road, London, and Matthew Wilson, 33, of North East Road, Southampton, have been charged with common assault.
Allen Kieran, 24, of Barmouth Road, London, and Russell Huwes, 26, of no fixed abode, have been charged with possession of a flare or smoke grenade.
All have been handed bail under the condition they are not allowed to enter a regulated football match.
The charged fans will appear in court on January 17.
Ninth-placed Saints went on to lose the Premier League match 3-0 after conceding goals by Fernando Torres, Oscar, and Willian.
PC Andy Darbyshire, of Hampshire Constabulary, said flares or fireworks have injured other fans at St Mary’s this season.
He said: “Hampshire Police and Southampton Football Club work in partnership to reduce the use of pyrotechnics within football.
“As part of a survey carried out by the premier league, 83 per cent of fans regard the use of flares and smoke bombs at football grounds as unsafe.
"This rises to 87 per cent of those who attend matches with their children and 90 per cent of women, compared with 82 per cent of men.
“It is an offence for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework.
“Injuries have been caused this season at St Mary’s due to these being let off. Please don't spoil other people's enjoyment.”