LONDON: English football club Leeds United have said they will improve their screening process of cardboard images of fans inside their Elland Road stadium after a cut-out of Osama bin Laden was installed ahead of their match against Fulham on Saturday.
Leeds, who play in the second-tier EFL Championship and are on course for a return to the Premier League this season, said they will “ensure there are no more offensive images” after the image of the former Al-Qaeda leader was spotted.
Football clubs across Europe have allowed fans to subscribe to a scheme that enables them to have their own image inside stadia during games, which have been closed off to supporters due to restrictions in place because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A fan who had paid £25 ($31) for his photo to be placed in one of the seats at Elland Road noticed his image was next to one of Bin Laden and alerted the club via Twitter. Leeds removed the image and issued an apology.
It is not the first controversy surrounding fan images in empty stadia since the return of professional sport.
Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has used the crowd-selfies idea since its restart in May, but already clubs have been forced to issue apologies after photos of Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s advisor who broke lockdown rules last month, and serial killer Harold Shipman were spotted during games.
And Fox Sports Australia issued an apology earlier this month after running a prank on air in which a black and white image of Adolf Hitler was shown during the “Sunday Night with Matty Johns” highlights program.