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

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

The Home Office is working closely with the police and football authorities to ensure that the majority of fans and families’ enjoyment of the day is not ruined by the selfishness of a few who invaded pitches of 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 topped a recent Premier League survey into the matchday fan experience, and saw the new safe standing areas at Gtech Community Stadium for fans, visited the control room and spoke to the security team about the valuable work they do to make match days positive experiences for spectators.

He also spoke to staff working on programs such as Premier League Kicks, which has been working in local communities to inspire thousands of young people. Premier League Kicks started in 2006, with Brentford one of 4 pilot clubs, and has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation to help young people in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

The Home Secretary has urged football fans in England and Wales to respect others’ enjoyment of the game and the law, or risk a Football Banning Order (FBO) preventing them from attending at home and away matches, 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 place for the ugly scenes we saw at some games in England and Wales last season and it is good to see the positive work being done by clubs like Brentford to ensure our stadiums are safe places for families and children enjoy the beautiful game. .

I am determined not to let a small minority ruin matches for true fans as the football season gets underway and we are working closely with the police and football authorities to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour.

I wholeheartedly support the extra measures being taken by all football bodies and clubs to protect fans and would encourage the police and courts to make full use of the Football Banning Order legislation which we have recently extended to online abuse and that we will soon introduce to eliminate it. class A drugs at matches.

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

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

In the past 12 months, the government has significantly expanded the reach of FBOs to crack down on 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 convicted of online racism and other football-related hate crimes can be banned from stadiums, just like violent criminals. are banned from the field
  • 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 in and around football matches football that their behavior will not be tolerated and that they will no longer be able to attend games

Additionally, FBOs have recently expanded into the women’s home game, proving that regardless of which games fans attend, violence and hate will not be tolerated.

The Football Association (FA), the Premier League and the English Football League (EFL) recently announced that they were introducing tougher new measures and sanctions across the game to tackle the rise in anti-social and criminal behavior seen on pitches of football last season and to emphasize the importance of a safe environment on the day. Football organizations make it clear that these 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 can affect your employment and education, and could lead to a penalty of prison The FA will also enforce a tougher charges and penalties policy for clubs, which will strengthen these measures.

In addition, all those entering the pitch, and those carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs, will now receive an automatic ban from the club. These prohibitions could also extend to accompanying parents or guardians of children participating in these activities.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said:

Everyone should feel safe and be able to enjoy a football match. By meeting with clubs and partners across football, 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 gets seriously hurt, 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 that 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 matches to be affected by these types of events.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

We stand with football fans and understand the passion and excitement that comes with supporting a team.

As the new season gets into full swing, we want to remind people that we will not tolerate anti-social behavior and have strengthened the powers of our football banning order legislation to tackle drug use and hate crime.

Alongside the work being done by the football authorities, we are helping to root out those who seek to disrupt match days so that the right fans can enjoy a fantastic football experience.

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