Horsham boss Di Paola - Needless abuse has crept into non-league
Dominic Di Paola has called abuse in non-league as ‘so needless’ after a member of his backroom staff allegedly received ‘sexist comments’ during their 2-1 defeat to Hornchurch on Saturday
Di Paola believes that the increase in reports of abuse at Premier League games has begun to trickle down to the lower levels of the game.
He explained: “If you go and watch the Premier League, you have people just screaming abuse at the pitch and it’s one of the things I don’t like about it.
“What I like about non-league is that it’s pretty friendly, but in the last few games, for whatever reason, maybe it’s because they’re top of the table games, there’s just been needless abuse.
“It’s non-league, we do it for the enjoyment of the game. Normally you get quite humorous comments from the crowd, we’ve always had that, and I don’t mind, they’re quite funny.”
Di Paola continued: “I’ve always quite liked the environment at non-league grounds but I’ve noticed a lot more aggressive abuse.
“If that’s what someone wants to do, pay £10 and shout abuse at a random person on a football pitch then it’s up to them. Maybe it’s the way the world’s going, but this is society in general, it’s not just non-league now.”
He continued: “It’s a shame that people feel like, just because they’re behind a barrier, they can shout abuse at players, physios and management.”
“It’s abuse to players and our physio. There’s been two or three times (this season) where there’s been really sexist comments, I just think it’s so needless when there’s loads of female physios in the league.”
Di Paola hopes the local interest in the club doesn’t attract the same kind of language.
He said: “Maybe it’s because of the bigger crowds but let’s hope we don’t encourage that because if we start getting bigger gates, I certainly don’t want to see people like that coming to football, I’d rather see 200 people at our games, if they’re all just nice people.
“But that’s one of the good things about Horsham. Our support is generally polite and good-natured.”
In October, fellow BetVictor Premier Division side Haringey Borough walked off in an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Yeovil Town after some of their players allegedly suffered racist abuse from the visiting fans.
Horsham stood in solidarity with the North London club, wearing T-shirts carrying an anti-racism message when they faced off in the FA Trophy a week after.