Sports minister Robertson condemns 'disappointing and quite depressing' weekend violence

Millwall fans fought at Wembley during their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday before Newcastle supporters clashed with police following their match against Sunderland on Sunday
Sports minister Hugh Robertson has expressed his disappointment with the football-related violence that broke out at Wembley and in Newcastle over the weekend.

Millwall supporters fought each other during their defeat against Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday before Magpies fans clashed with police following their match against Sunderland on Sunday.

Robertson condemned the "depressing" scenes and says that they must not be allowed to spiral given the current strong state of British sport following last summer's Olympic Games.

COMMENT: Violence in the Wembley stands depressingly overshadows FA Cup semi-final
"It's incredibly disappointing and quite depressing," he told The Guardian. "I think it's difficult to think of another time - certainly in my adult life - that British sport has been in a stronger position than it is at the moment, in the aftermath of 2012 and with so many other major events coming to this country.

"Against that backdrop the last thing we want are the sort of scenes we saw on Saturday at Wembley or, indeed, up in Newcastle on Sunday. We want to absolutely make sure this doesn't snowball and become fashionable."

After struggling with hooligan elements in the 1970s and 1980s, the British game has greatly improved its reputation but Robertson claims that the weekend's events are proof that similar issues had the potential to quickly re-emerge.

"Back in the 70s and 80s we used to have the reputation that this happened time and time again," he added. "If anything, what the weekend does show is that the moment you take your eye off it, it pretty quickly reappears.

"You never entirely put the lid on all of this. But from what I've heard, it's a sort of alcohol-inspired, warm day and that's what's done it."