Home Secretary praises ‘real’ football fans and urges respect at matches

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Home Secretary Priti Patel visited the Gtech Community Stadium in Brentford to see the valuable work football clubs, police and sports bodies are doing to prevent anti-social behavior and increase fan enjoyment of the game after unrest in games last season.

The Home Office is working closely with the police and football authorities to ensure that the enjoyment of the majority of fans and families is not spoiled by the selfishness of the few who invaded the pitches football, threw flares and abused players and fans at matches in England. and Wales last season.

The Home Secretary met with officials from the Premier League and Brentford Football Club, who came top of a recent Premier League survey of matchday fan experience, and saw the new areas standing guards of the Gtech Community Stadium for fans, toured the control room and spoke with the security team about the valuable work they do to ensure match days are positive experiences for spectators.

She also spoke to staff who work on programs such as Premier League Kicks, which works in local communities to inspire thousands of young people. Premier League Kicks started in 2006 – with Brentford one of 4 pilot clubs – and has long used the power of football and the value of sporting participation to help young people in some of the most needy parts of the country.

The Home Secretary has urged football fans across England and Wales to respect the enjoyment of the game of others and the law, or risk receiving a football banning order (FBO) preventing them to attend home and away matches, potentially including the World Cup in Qatar, if they attack or abuse other fans, staff, players or managers.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

There is no room for the ugly scenes we saw at some matches in England and Wales last season and it is good to see the positive work being done by clubs like Brentford to ensure that our stadiums are safe places for families and children to enjoy the beautiful game.

I am determined not to let a small minority spoil the matches of real fans as the football season kicks off and we are working closely with the police and football authorities to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour.

I wholeheartedly support the additional measures that all football bodies and clubs are taking to keep fans safe and I encourage the police and the courts to take full advantage of the football banning legislation which we have recently extended to online abuse and which we will soon put in place to eradicate Class A drugs from matches.

FBOs are a preventative behavioral order designed to prevent violence, disorder and harm and are imposed by a court, following an application or conviction for a football-related offence.

Nearly 1,400 troublemakers have already been targeted by the FBOs and banned by the courts.

Over the past 12 months, the government has dramatically expanded the reach of faith-based organizations to quell disorder by:

  • add football-related online hate crimes to the list of offenses for which an FBO can be imposed on conviction so that those found guilty of online racism and other football-related hate crimes can be banned from stadiums , in the same way that violent offenders are barred from
  • commit to adding football-related Class A drug offenses to the list of offenses for which an FBO can be imposed on conviction, sending a strong signal to those who use Class A drugs during and around matches football that their behavior will not be tolerated and that they will no longer be able to attend matches

Additionally, FBOs have recently been extended to women’s national football, showing that whatever matches fans attend, violence and hate will not be tolerated.

Recently, the Football Association (FA), Premier League and English Football League (EFL) announced that they were introducing new measures and tougher penalties across the game to tackle the rise in anti-social and criminal behavior seen on football pitches last season and to highlight the importance of a safe environment on match day. The football authorities make it clear that such acts are dangerous, illegal and have serious consequences.

From the start of the 2022 to 2023 season, all offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which could affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence. The FA will also apply a stricter charge and sanction policy for clubs, which will reinforce these measures.

Additionally, anyone entering the field, and those carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs, will now receive an automatic club ban. These prohibitions could also be extended to parents or guardians accompanying children who participate in these activities.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said:

Everyone should feel safe and be able to enjoy a game of football. By reaching out to clubs and football partners, we are making it clear that the type of incidents we saw last season must stop. If we don’t take collective and sustained action, it may only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, or worse.

The new measures introduced at the start of this season are a strong response to a significant increase in fan behavior issues, but we know it is the minority who have behaved in unacceptable and illegal ways.

Premier League football should be a fantastic experience for everyone and we don’t want games to be marred by these kinds of events.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

We are on the side of football fans and understand the passion and emotion that comes with supporting a team.

As the new season is in full swing, we want to remind people that we will not tolerate anti-social behavior and that we have increased powers under our football ban legislation to tackle drug use and crime. hateful.

Alongside the work done by football authorities, we help weed out those who seek to disrupt matchdays so that true fans can enjoy a fantasy football experience.

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