Hearts and Hibs ban selfie sticks over weapon fear

A TELESCOPIC pole that allows budding photographers to snap the perfect picture of themselves has been banned from both Edinburgh football clubs amid safety fears.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 26th January 2015, 11:45 am
Supporters will no longer be able to take selfie sticks into matches in the Capital. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Supporters will no longer be able to take selfie sticks into matches in the Capital. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The so-called “selfie stick” was one of the best-selling Christmas presents last year and allows users to strap their mobile phone into its claw and hold it away from their face so they can take the photograph from a better angle.

But fans visiting Easter Road or Tynecastle will be prevented from entering the stadium with the extendable device because it could be used as a weapon.

The stance by both Capital sides comes in the wake of a ban introduced by Liverpool FC and officials at the Echo Arena on Merseyside who feared the devices could affect the “enjoyment” of other patrons.

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North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have both added the selfie stick to a list of banned items in their grounds as some punters claimed the devices were 
blocking their views.

Selfie sticks have also been outlawed from a number of British music venues such as London’s O2 arena and Wembley SSE Arena.

The move has been welcomed by some supporters who questioned why fans would be taking selfies at matches in the first place. It appears to have been more widespread among foreign tourists taking in English Premier League matches than with the domestic fans of Scottish football.

Steve Kilgour, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, said he was at a loss why anyone would want to take a selfie at a matgh, insisting the “action is on the pitch and not in the stands”.

He said: “I suppose it would only be a matter of time before someone chucks one.

“But I think we have to be careful not to sterilise football too much as it is supposed to be fun. I only take my wallet along for beer money and for after the match. I certainly wouldn’t be bringing a camera.”

But the move has been viewed as excessive by some Scottish football fans.

Craig Paterson, bus convener of the Southern Hibs Supporters Group, said: “I definitely agree that in some stadiums, like Tynecastle, the stands are very close to the pitch so anyone who wanted to could lash out at a player.

“I don’t see why they should be banned though. It’s like so many other things in football which you can’t do now.”

Mr Paterson added: “I go to every home and away game to watch Hibs and I can’t imagine they would be a problem.

“I often see lots of young fans getting selfies with players while they are warming up.”

A spokesman for Hibernian Football Club said: “The club can confirm that extendable telescopic ‘selfie’ sticks are not permitted within Easter Road Stadium.” The handheld devices are also banned at Tynecastle, confirmed a Hearts spokesman, who said fans’ safety was a priority.

Online retailer Amazon reported sales of the selfie stick rose by 301 per cent between September and November.