Football violence down as more hooligans banned

Football banning orders have been slapped on a record number of hooligans in the UK.

Football banning orders have been slapped on a record number of hooligans in the UK.

British Home Office figures showed there were 3,387 football hooligans subject to the orders, which prevent them attending domestic and international matches.

A total of 995 were imposed during the year, making a net total rise of 7% year-on-year after allowing for orders that have expired.

Meanwhile, arrests for football-related offences have dipped by 7% to 3,462 - the third consecutive season to see a fall.

Leeds gained the unenviable title of the club with the most banning orders.

An extra 20 orders imposed on its fans during the year brought its total to 115, following an even larger rise last year.

Portsmouth were second with 110, followed by Cardiff (last year’s highest, falling from 152 orders to 109), Stoke (108) and Manchester United (106).

Stoke also gained the largest number of orders in the year – 58.

UK Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: “I am very encouraged by the new figures.

“A 7% decrease in football-related arrests coupled with a 7% increase in football banning orders shows that tough legislation and targeted policing continues to be effective.

“However, we are not complacent. Football disorder remains a lingering menace, and will not be tolerated.”

British sports minister Richard Caborn said: “The thrill of watching football from the terraces without fear of violence is the right of the genuine majority fans and should not be compromised by the tiny minority of thugs intent on causing trouble.

“The increased numbers of families, women and children now attending matches proves that the face of the average football fan is changing for the better - making football more inclusive, friendlier and safer than ever before.”

The Premiership overtook the Championship for the largest number of arrests in the year.

There were 1,221 at Premier League games, up from 984 in 2004-05, while Championship arrests fell from 1,047 to 877.

The club with the highest number of arrests was Tottenham Hotspur, with 169.

It was followed by Manchester United (147), Chelsea (126), Sheffield Wednesday (89), Coventry (88) and Leeds (76).

Hull and Luton had the highest number of fans arrested for the most serious category of football-related offence, each with 21 hooligans detained for violent disorder.

Fourteen Birmingham fans were arrested for the same offence in the year, while Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday both had 13 detained.

The Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman on football issues, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Stephen Thomas, said: “These figures show another successful year, which reflects the hard work put into reclaiming our national game for true football supporters.

“This decrease in arrests, coupled with the increase in banning orders, shows that banning orders do work.

“We now have to take steps to deal with the drunken yob culture that we saw spoiling our participation in the World Cup in Germany.”

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: “The latest figures confirm a very positive trend over recent years.

“They reflect the positive impact of banning orders and effective policing in reducing disorder at football matches, and the on-going culture change among the fans themselves.”

Since the orders were introduced after Euro 2000, 5,173 individuals have been banned. Of those, 1,776 orders have expired.

Of the 5,173 total, just 69 individuals have subsequently been involved in football violence – which officials said was a 96% rehabilitation rate.

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