The games industry cannot be held responsible for this weekends smoke bomb incident at Aston Villa. It is very unfortunate that products which are used in our industries, both paintball and airsoft are also desirable by idiots who like to try and make themselves look big in front of the other fans? Surely these people know it is an offence to let smoke grenades off in stadiums, surely? Or maybe they don’t; is it that the stadiums themselves are not translating this to the spectators or the FA hasn’t made good a clear enough warning?
Our brand of product Enola Gaye clearly prints on all products that it is an offence, so it is not the fault of the product, unless of course these people can’t read (i suppose that’s a possibility), so then it’s down to common sense. Yes, common sense, letting off a smoke grenade in a tightly packed stadium is anti-social and yes you deserve to be banned from the stadium or go to prison. Why is this not happening, is the message not getting across? Surely there are enough cameras and witnesses about to identify these idiots?
So not wishing to shift the blame; we in the games industry will do our utmost to ensure the idiots can’t easily buy smoke grenades; but the warnings need to be made clear by the stadiums; misuse of pyrotechnics will get you a ban, prison or at very least a criminal record; shouldn’t this be deterrent enough?
Shifting back to us (Enola Gaye) we have strong ties with the SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority), the UKPSF (UK Paintball Sports Federation) and UKARA (UK Airsoft Retailers Association); we have a dealership programme that sets out strong guidance about how to retail the products and it highlights how to avoid football fans trying to purchase. Coupled with clear warnings on our labelling i would say that we have gone to long lengths to discourage the use of smoke bombs in sports stadiums.
Our smoke products stretch far and wide; used in paintball, airsoft, skydiving, film, photography, police and military training and most importantly search and rescue. We just hope that the small amount of misuse that has been highlighted this weekend can be dealt with by the authorities for what it is; stupidity from people that hopefully we will see picking up bars of soap for the next few years.