Great Britain

Quarantine Fight Club shut down due to Covid-19 rule breach

THE organiser of a Bradford viral boxing channel has accepted he was "daft" after police shut down an event at the weekend attended by more than 30 people.

Dozens of people were packed into Hard Knocks Gym in Halifax Road, Buttershaw, with no social distancing and very few people wearing masks for the latest episode of Quarantine Fight Club when police were called to the gym on Saturday.

Video footage from the event shows crowds of people in close proximity inside the gym, with very few wearing face coverings, having attended to watch th QFC event, the 25th to take place since the beginning of lockdown.

When police arrive, many people in the gym begin to behave unfavourably towards police outside, before later leaving in an orderly manner. However some proceeded to be disorderly outside the venue.

The event was shut down and spectators dispersed by police, and while organiser Darren Moffitt has admitted he has done wrong and accepts the fine coming his way, he defended Quarantine Fight Club for the impact it has had helping people with mental health problems and those with criminal histories.

**WARNING: This video contains strong language**

He said: "There's been no hidden agenda at QFC, it's a public Facebook and YouTube page and in recent months our fights have been held in the same place.

"Police said they've been watching us since March but it wasn't until this weekend when someone unfortunately complained they have come along.

"They had to do their job, which I understand completely, and it was daft having that many people there, way more than we should have. It was a silly thing to do and I admit that.

"When they arrived, there were a lot of people there who aren't fond of the police but have always been well behaved at the fights, some charged out and were pepper sprayed.

"I spoke to police and told them I was the organiser. I'm going to be hit with a £10,000 fine because of the number of people there, but I hold my hands up. I have to pay the fine and rightly so.

"I know legally it's not allowed, but we have helped so many people through tough times with these events.

"I have men messaging me who have mental health issues saying this is their reason to live and it has helped them find a new focus and meaning in life.

"Many people who come have criminal pasts and this has kept them out of trouble throughout lockdown - it gives them something to do and look forward to on a weekend.

"I've not held these events because I don't care about the law, I've done it to help people who really needed it during lockdown, and it has helped keep their spirits up."

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "Police attended at a gym on Halifax Road, Bradford at about 4.35pm on Saturday, October 24, to a report of a large event taking place in breach of Coronavirus restrictions.

"Officers attended and located an unlicensed sporting event attended by a large crowd of more than 30 people with no social distancing taking place.

"A number of people attempted to force their way out of the venue on police arrival and officers deployed PAVA spray. No injuries were reported.

"The organiser of the event was handed the maximum £10,000 fine as a result of the breach of Coronavirus restrictions."

Bradford Council has supported the police's action and said the event "puts us all at risk".

A spokesperson said: “Police were absolutely right to act and have our full support in doing so.

"Gathering together in this way, at the very time when we are all, as a district, trying to pull together to reduce infection rates, is letting us all down.

"We will not hesitate to take action against those breaking COVID-19 legislation.  In breaking the rules, it puts all of us at risk.

"The Tier 2 rules are clear that members of different households should not be meeting inside socially under any circumstances.”

Mr Moffitt said if the events are allowed to continue, he will revert to having no audience at events.

He added: "Hopefully we can carry on with QFC; if we get permission there will be no crowds at future fights."

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