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Monday, December 10, 2012
Taylor: Introduce protective netting

ESPN staff

Gordon Taylor has urged the football authorities to consider the introduction of protective netting at grounds after Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin thrown from the crowd at Manchester City on Sunday.

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Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said the measure - used in European leagues including the German Bundesliga - would help safeguard players.

Ferdinand suffered a cut above an eye when he was hit by the coin as he celebrated the late Robin van Persie goal that gave United a 3-2 win at the Etihad.

City have apologised to Ferdinand over the incident, which is being investigated by both the police and the FA, and Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think you've got to give consideration to possibly, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags."

In Germany and other European countries, protective netting is hung from tall poles in front of areas from which it is feared missiles could be thrown.

United's Wayne Rooney, who scored two first-half goals, was also the target of missiles from the Etihad crowd when he took corners, and Sir Alex Ferguson said the England player had been subjected to similar treatment when United won at Stamford Bridge in October.

An FA spokesman said the organisation would "work with clubs an authorities to identify those responsible" for the coin being thrown at Ferdinand.

In a statement, it added: "We condemn any such acts, and it is simply unacceptable that any player is exposed to injury in this way.

"To witness Rio Ferdinand leaving the field with a cut above his eye to receive treatment is appalling."

City's statement said the club "wishes to offer its sincere apologies to Rio Ferdinand" and "unreservedly condemns the actions which led to his being injured".

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