Leicester City 'clapper' ban fans not so happy

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The "clap banners" as they are officially known are found behind seats at Leicester games

A group of die-hard Leicester City supporters has been banned from using the club's famous cardboard "clappers" at games.

The fan-like items, which make a loud noise when hit into the palm of a hand, are given out before every match.

But about 500 fans were told they could not use them at a Champions League game against Club Brugge on Tuesday, the Leicester Mercury reported.

The club said "a small number of individuals" had misused the clappers.

Fans in the King Power stadium's L section were told the use of the "clap banners" had been "suspended for the foreseeable future".

Clappers have been used consistently since the club's rise from relegation battlers to Premier League champions, with some even crediting Leicester's meteoric rise to their use.

But one supporter told the BBC he has seen them being thrown into the away section and the stadium's family area at recent matches.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Jamie Vardy in action against Club Brugge

Cliff Ginnetta, chairman of Leicester City's official supporters club, told the Mercury: "It's the noisiest part of the ground and it's fair to say the fans are incredibly passionate.

"But we are not hooligans. There are women and children in L Block as well as pensioners."

A Leicester City spokesman said: "The Football Club places the safety of its supporters as its highest priority and with that in mind has been left with little alternative than to remove the clap banners, which have been repeatedly used as missiles in Block L in recent weeks."

The club added that the decision was taken "despite a number of efforts to address the issue".

What else has been banned from football grounds?

Image source, Swindon Advertiser

Vuvuzelas: The high-pitched horns were popular at the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but promptly banned from all Uefa-sanctioned games for detracting "from the experience of the game".

Poppies: The English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations are all facing disciplinary proceedings for alleged breaches of FIFA's rules on "political" statements after displaying poppies on armbands or within stadiums at recent international matches.

Away fans: Luton Town banned all away team supporters from their Kenilworth Road home as a result of a serious riot against Millwall in 1985, arguably the worst outbreak of violence ever seen in an English football ground. The ban remained in place for four years.

Celery: Once a favourite match-day accessory of Chelsea fans, the vegetable was finally banned from all games in 2007 when the habit of throwing it on the pitch was classed as a criminal offence.

The press: A number of clubs have banned newspapers and broadcasters - usually as a retaliation against "negative" coverage. The Swindon Advertiser famously used Subbuteo figures to get around a ban on photographers at Southampton.

Leicester City spent thousands of pounds on clappers and have used them ever since they beat West Ham in April 2014, to revive their Premier League survival hopes.

The following season they beat odds of 5,000-1 to win the title.

Clappers divide opinion among fans, with some saying they "create a false atmosphere" while others claim they improve it.

'Happy clappers' by East Midlands Today's Colin Hazelden

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The clubs spends thousands of pounds on the items

Giving out clappers can attract derision from fans. I still remember the tide of revulsion when they tried it at my club [Wycombe Wanderers].

Visitors will claim it is an attempt to create an atmosphere where none existed.

But what has impressed me at Leicester is the intelligent way Foxes fans use these little bits of cardboard to build on what was already a pretty noisy contribution.

The songs still begin with the usual suspects but the clappers mean every part of the stadium picks out the beat.

Suddenly the quiet "sit on their hands" mob find their voices too.

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