Every year over 37 million football fans attend a game to support their favourite team. Of these statistically only 1 in every 12,249 are arrested. It is this small minority that are targeted by the police to protect the innocent fans, players and the countries reputation abroad.
There are powers contained in the Football Spectators Act 1989 to exclude offenders who have been convicted of a ‘relevant offence’ from attending football matches. In order for the Court to issue a football banning order they have to be satisfied that the person has caused or contributed to football related violence or disorder. The banning orders are in place to ensure the supporter doesn’t gain access to the ground and attempts to prevent them from misbehaving further.
Football banning orders can be given for a period of three to ten years and are customized to the individual offender. Orders prohibits an offender from attending a football ground and if there is a match played abroad the offender can be required to report to their local police station. If an order is breached it is a criminal offence and can attract a maximum of six months in custody. According to home Office statistics football banning orders are ‘extremely successful’ and in 92% the police feel the person no longer poses a risk.
n a week when we have seen a male who in the past has been subject to banning orders run onto the pitch and assault Chris Kirkland the Sheffield Wednesday goal keeper it is clear that more needs to be done to police and monitor the minority. The offender in this case had previously been subject to two football banning orders and had breached them four times. He received a 16 week prison sentence and ordered to pay Court costs.
One may ask themselves if the length of prison sentence given to this male is enough to deter others from taking the same course of action and if the professionals on the pitch are taking the right steps towards becoming the role models these offenders need.