Last minute considerations by Colchester Council to allow an outdoor screening of the Croatia v England World Cup semi-final have been unable to pass Public Safety requirements.
Calls by the public to allow the World Cup to be shown on screens in Castle Park were voiced almost 9 months ago, however council officials have remained adamant the World Cup matches would not hold much hope of being shown.
Last October, Cllr. Tim Young (Lab) said: “In the past, we have always said we will not show football on the big screen. Now England have qualified we may look at it again but I would not hold out much hope of it happening.”, as reported by The Gazette.
In May of this year, the council unveiled plans for the Castle Park Summer Screen to return, bringing Wimbledon and summer movies to the big screen for audiences in their thousands to enjoy.
In recent days, we understand Colchester Council investigated the potential of showing the semi-final match between England and Croatia on the Summer Screen, however last minute considerations could not be finalised.
‘Minimal disorder across town’
In a full statement from Essex Police, Chief Inspector Shaun Kane said: “I’m delighted England are progressing through the World Cup tournament so positively and well, and it’s pleasing to see disorder across the town is minimal, and the majority of people are enjoying the football sensibly and safely.
“As the District Policing Commander for Colchester, I have provided my considerations regarding the screening of Wednesday’s match in Castle Park to the chair of the Community Safety Partnership.
“Unfortunately, due to the short-notice, logistics and overarching Public Safety requirements, we have decided not to proceed on this occasion based on our current policing plans, partnership working arrangements and safety measures prepared, already covering this tournament.
“This does not detract from the other places in town showing the match – these screening opportunities are already in place to help people come together and enjoy the football in an enjoyable, safe atmosphere.”
‘People would love to watch the game in the park’
A spokesperson for Colchester Borough Council said: “We have taken an extensive look at the potential for screening England’s remaining World Cup matches in Castle Park.
“This has included taking advice from the police, Colchester Community Safety Partnership and the Safety Advisory Group, as well as listening to the views of local residents.
“After listening to all of the views – and seeing the actions of some fans following recent England Games – we have taken the decision not to show the games on the screen in Castle Park.
“It is clear while there are some people who would love to watch the games in the Park, there are others who want an alternative to the football.
“There are plenty of venues across the borough showing the game, including pubs and the Colchester United Stadium, where fans can cheer on England to hopefully reach the final.
“This is why we have decided to leave the park as a peaceful place for visitors to enjoy the surroundings and potentially watch the tennis being screened there. And, hopefully, we will continue to fly the England flag from the Town Hall after Wednesday night’s semi-final.”
The Jobserve Colchester Community Stadium will be showing the match as a ticket only event, in the Layer Suite at the stadium on a large projected screen.
Additional TV screens around the Layer Suite will also be showing the match. The suite is wheelchair accessible and kids are welcome.
Croatia v England will be shown to an estimated 37 million people around the U.K. Wednesday evening, with kick off at 7:00pm.
This story was updated at 12:07pm (10th July) to include comment from Colchester Council.