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  • Stuart McDonald

Football violence

As well as the “general” offences under the Public Order Act 1986 and the law on assault, there are some specific offences connected with behaviour at and near football matches.


Examples include:


  • Throwing of missiles onto the playing area or into the crowd;

  • Going onto the playing area;

  • Unauthorised persons ("ticket touts") selling or otherwise disposing of a ticket to a designated football match;

  • Possession of alcohol or being drunk at or upon entering a designated sporting event;

  • Having a flare or firework etc. during the period of a designated sporting event when in a designated sports ground.


In the event of conviction for a football-related offence, the Courts are required to make a “Football Banning Order” unless it "considers that there are particular circumstances relating to the offence or to the offender which would make it unjust in all the circumstances to do so" in which case the Court must give its reasons for not making the order. If the person is sent to prison, the minimum ban period will be six years; otherwise, three years.


A Football Banning Order may also be sought as a separate complaint, in other words without a related prosecution.


As well as prohibiting the person from attending matches, the terms of an order can include reporting to the police and surrendering his/her passport for periods to cover international matches. Failure to comply with an order carries up to 6 months’ imprisonment.


Legal disclaimer: Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is accurate at the date of publication but please note that the law is ever changing and evolving. If you require advice in relation to any matter raised in this article please contact a member of the team.


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