Quinn hits out at stay-away fans

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

Sunderland chairman Quinn defended the current rules which make it illegal to show live matches via foreign channels, and claimed an agency investigation had exposed evidence of thousands of local people viewing Sunderland games on Saturday afternoons in pubs and clubs. A non-binding legal opinion offer to the European Court of Justice earlier this week by Advocate General Juliane Kokott suggested EU citizens should not legally be stopped from using foreign equipment and subscriptions to view the matches. Quinn has pleaded with his own club's stay-away fans to watch their team at the Stadium of Light rather than on television in nearby bars for several years, and while he acknowledges the current financial climate is a big factor, he has renewed his calls. He said: "I would never criticise anyone who doesn't come to the stadium because of financial constraints, but I despise those who spend far more than the price of a ticket watching some overseas commentator describing the action at the nearby Stadium of Light." Quinn added: "Contrary to the opinion of the Advocate General, the illegal showing of Saturday 3pm fixtures involving Sunderland has an extremely detrimental effect on our attendances at the Stadium of Light. "I can point to the evidence uncovered by an agency who covertly visited pubs and clubs in our catchment area and witnessed thousands watching the illegal broadcasts. "My belief is a significant number of these people are taking the easy option of spending their money in the pub watching their team as opposed to supporting their team and helping to create a better atmosphere at the Stadium. "Our attendances are down for a couple of reasons and the economic uncertainty right now is a factor. "All clubs thrive on full stadiums. Loud, passionate support is the backbone of football and when our stadium is full, we are a force to be reckoned with. "I know this first-hand - when I was a player, we could beat teams from the second they walked out of the tunnel, the atmosphere was so intimidating." Quinn went as far as to suggest those supporters who take the easy option are actually harming the club after witnessing more than 10,000 empty seats for Tuesday night's visit of champions Chelsea to Wearside. He added: "To anyone watching the game illegally in the pub, I will continue to say by doing so, you are not supporting your team, you are actually damaging the progress of the club. "We have a real chance here to make this club feel great again, but to do it, we need everyone behind us. "I would urge these people in the pubs and clubs to come back to the Stadium of Light. "We have made a commitment to keeping our prices realistic, with our match tickets 50% cheaper than some clubs, so we are doing what we can to make it as easy as possible for people to come and support their team. "And I reiterate, despite this opinion yesterday, it is still illegal to show games in this fashion."

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