Link between cocaine and disorder at football games
There has been an established link between disorder at football games and increasing cocaine use in society, according to Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the UK’s lead on football policing. Over the past two seasons, disorder at football matches has increased (45%), and has been linked to the increase prevalence of cocaine use inside stadiums.
According to the Home Office, 2.6% of 16 – 59 year olds took cocaine in 2017-18, up 2.4% in 2013-14. The drug in the UK is becoming cheaper, purer and more accessible than before. A senior football official said, when speaking with The Independent, that it is the “massive elephant in the room”, with police sources claiming that it is “rife” at football grounds across the country.
Football policing units carry out drug checks inside football stadiums with drug detection dogs and swabbing areas such as toilets. Arrests are made at the football grounds for drug possession. In 2017, cocaine related arrests at football grounds more than doubled from 32 to 68. These numbers may seem small, however DCC Mark Roberts says a reduction in match day policing, due to budget constraints, is the reason for these low numbers. 50% of games are either police-free (11.3%) or spotter only (39.3%).
Inspector Andy Bridgewater, the head of West Midlands’ Police football unit, believes there is a real cocaine problem stating that “there is a really strong correlation today between cocaine use and football-related violence.”
Overall disorder incidents at matches jumped 36% in 2016-17 and again last year, while cocaine-related deaths in England and Wales increased in 2017 for the sixth year in a row, from 112 in 2011 to 432 in 2017.
Using Randox Toxicology’s revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is an automated analyser that enables detection of a wide variety of multiple drug groups and provides simultaneous on-site screening with our CE marked urine and blood panels. As minimal sample preparation is required, qualitative results can be provided in less than 20 minutes, offering an effective toxicology screen for cocaine and other drugs/drug metabolites.
On Saturday 17th November 2018, hot on the heels of the Randox GAA Ladies team’s glorious competition début, our Men’s team took to the field at the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence, to compete in the Junior Men’s category of the FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms competition.
With our Ladies team having successfully reached the Semi-Finals of the competition the week prior, the pressure was on!
The two Randox Men’s teams were pooled in separate groups with strong opposition in both. Randox Team One faced a tough task with FinTru, Citi and South West College, whilst the second Randox Team were pitted against the GAA Store, Premier Electric and Belfast Lawyers.
Our Randox teams battled hard during this group stage and thanks to a creative team effort as well as some fantastic individual performances, they both made it to the knockout stages of the competition and into the quarter finals. Unfortunately though, the effort put in to make it out of the group stages had claimed a few key players to injury, which left the remaining men with a near impossible task ahead of them in the next stage of the competition
Team One was drawn against FinTru and Team Two against Belfast Lawyers. Regrettably, on the day both teams came out on the wrong side of the results in very competitive games against very experienced and seasoned teams.
John James Fallon, Randox Electrical Engineer and GAA Bainisteoir / Coach, commented;
“As newly-formed teams, who prior to the Inter-Firms competition had never played together before, both the men and ladies should be extremely proud. Fielding players who ranged from experienced to novice, and with only 5 weeks training, to have reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals of our respective categories has been exceptional.
“On behalf of the organising committee I would like to say thank you to Randox and Dr FitzGerald for their assistance in getting the team started, and to St James GAC Aldergrove for the use of their facilities and equipment over the course of the training sessions, as without their help this would not have been possible. Finally, a huge thank you has to go to the participants themselves, as without you there is no Randox GAA club. I’m looking forward to our next season together already.
“This is just the beginning.”
On behalf of everyone at Randox we would like to wish both our Ladies GAA Team and our two Men’s GAA teams a massive congratulations on their impressive performances at the FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms competition.
Their commitment, perseverance and teamwork has been truly inspiring and we are very proud of how they came together to form three very capable and motivated GAA teams. Well done!
For further information on our Randox GAA teams, please email email@example.com
Follow football? Then you won’t want to miss our exclusive interview with Glentoran player Corey McMullan.
Mathematics placement student Corey recently signed a two year contract with the prestigious Belfast football team and took some time out during the off season to talk to us about his football journey to date.
Read Corey’s story below.
“I’ve always been into sports. When I was younger I played football, tennis, badminton…I had a go at everything really but football has always been my main passion. Some of my best memories are of the Milk Cup which is held up in the north coast. I was captain of the Derry/Londonderry team and we played against some of the biggest teams in the world including CSKA Moscow and the Corinthians from Brazil. The following year I represented Northern Ireland in the Under 18s Centenary Shield. I think getting to play for your nation is a great honour and what it made it even more sweet was the fact that we beat the Republic in Sligo on St Patrick’s Day by scoring a last minute winner.
The first team that I played for was Limivady United and then when I was nineteen I moved to Ballyclare Comrades. I’m originally from Coleraine but I knew that the Ballyclare team had a good reputation and were good at giving young players a chance on the field. I decided to go and play for them – even though it took me an hour to get to training every week.
I played with them for one year and won ‘Player of the Month’ for the NIFL championship in January before I moved to Glentoran. We had just finished playing the Institute FC in a play-off game in a home and away over two legs and I scored the winner. It was after that game that the manager from Glentoran, Gary Haveron, got in touch. He had been watching the play-off and invited me down to The Oval where I signed my two year contract.
My family were buzzing when I told them I had been signed; they take a big interest in my football and my dad has never missed a match. I feel like I’m ready for it now. I’ve been playing since I was 16 and playing for Glentoran is a great opportunity for me.
We haven’t been told who the first fixture is against but I have already played my debut in Detroit. It was for the fiftieth anniversary of the Detroit Cougars, when Glentoran, representing NI, went to America to raise the profile of football there. The Glentoran squad exceeded everyone’s expectations as they were the only semi-professional football team that were brought over at that time and they did really well. Going as part of this team in 2017 was a great experience and it was the first time that I met all the boys on the squad. I started the game which drew in a crowd of 5 thousand people. It was such a big crowd which I didn’t expect. It was a bit surreal.
While we were in the US we went to Third Man Records, a famous records store in Detroit. Usually part of the initiation process when joining a new club involves an embarrassing sing along. So while we were in the record store I sang a rendition of ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams for all the lads. Personally I’m more of a shower singer but it was a bit of craic and a few other guys got up after me. We also got to meet Scott Benson, a Detroit city councilman, and we went on a tour of the city.
Although I’ve always been a keen football player I’m also lucky to be decent at maths and I have tutored for friends and family. You never know where football can take you so in the meantime I’m currently doing my placement year at Randox, working in the Pricing and Tenders department.
I found the opportunity through the university careers portal and at the time I didn’t know that maths could take you into these areas but I’m finding out that a good maths degree can open a lot of doors. I had heard of Randox before as my uncle had previously worked for them and was involved in the early developments of the Randox Science Park. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to pursue at university, I had been interested in languages and science but maths was probably my best subject. It sounds simple but that’s honestly the way it was!
It’s been a great experience – I get along with my team very well and I am enjoying the work. I’ve had real hands-on experience during my placement year and I have found that the further I get into my degree the more options are becoming available. I was thinking of doing a masters in maths and also considering doing a PGCE in maths, but I haven’t quite made my mind up about that one yet.
It can be tough trying to balance work and football but I do manage it fit it all in. This past year I’ve been up from 6.30am to get to work and I usually stay on late because I have training after work in Belfast or Crumlin until 8.30pm. After training, I do my own training and practice my shooting to improve my game.
I support Man United as a team but the players whose careers I’d like to emulate would be Pogba and Steven Gerrard. They both play centre mid field and have a similar game to me. Gerrard is a good athlete – there are a lot of guys who can attack and defend but Gerrard is an all-rounded mid fielder. Currently it’s the off season but the pre-season is fast approaching and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing where my football career will take me.”
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If you are interested in joining our global team make sure that you check out the Randox careers website to see what new opportunities we have for you.