Hammam to stop his touchline walks

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The Independent Football

Sam Hammam, the owner of Cardiff City, has promised to stop his controversial walks around the Ninian Park pitch after it was revealed he had been warned before on the matter.

Cardiff's 2-1 FA Cup third-round victory over Leeds on Sunday was marred by missile-throwing and a post-match pitch invasion, with Hammam controversially walking around the pitch late in the game.

Hammam's actions, which have become his trademark over the years, drew allegations of incitement and were angrily condemned by the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, after the volatile encounter.

"I have decided today to stop doing it," Hammam said yesterday. "The general consensus is that I should not be doing it, because if I don't stop it is going to become a very major issue even though it is in my rights to do it and even though it has never caused a problem ever, including during the Leeds game.

"If I do it this Saturday or a Saturday in six months' time it will become an issue. We need to preserve the good name of football."

His decision came after it was revealed the former Wimbledon owner has been warned about walking around the pitch before. John Nagle, of the Football League, claimed Hammam had been instructed in a letter three months' ago that the practice could not continue.

"The League acted fairly early on in the season following complaints from visiting clubs and wrote to Sam Hammam asking him to desist from walking around the goal," Nagle said.

Hammam denied he had acted against the League's wishes, insisting an agreement had been reached.

"This guy is wrong in what he is saying," Hammam said. "They did say that after receiving a complaint and then when our chief executive contacted them it was absolutely clear that was superseded. They said there was no problem in doing it. I only stopped doing it I think for one game and after that it was very clear that I am allowed to do it."

Hammam has demanded an apology from the BBC ­ even though he had one of its reporters thrown out of Ninian Park following City's victory. Hammam reportedly confiscated a minidisc and ordered security staff to eject the journalist. The BBC has lodged a complaint with the Football Association, but Hammam has accused the broadcaster of pursuing a "vendetta".

Bristol City have written to Cardiff complaining about the behaviour of their fans after the Second Division game at Ninian Park on 29 December. Visiting fans have since claimed that after the match they were pelted with missiles.

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