Fans who commit football-related offence face World Cup ban, says CPS
Fans who commit a football-related offence will risk being blocked from going to the World Cup, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has warned.
The agency also warned that Football Banning Orders can now be issued for hateful statements online.
As Football Banning Orders last for a minimum of three years, it means offenders would also miss the men’s European Championships in Germany in 2024.
The CPS and the National Police Chiefs’ Council said they were reinforcing their commitment to reduce the level of football-related crimes, including violent crime, racist, homophobic and discriminatory chanting and abuse, the use of pyrotechnics and entering the field of play.
Douglas Mackay, CPS Sports Lead Prosecutor, said: “There are just weeks to go before the World Cup. Fans shouldn’t do anything that will stop them following their nation and supporting them live for the biggest international tournaments in football.
“Banning orders can have a huge impact on an offender’s ability to enjoy the game, and their life – from stopping you from going to the pub around match times, and being in the vicinity of games, to travelling abroad.
“At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling football-related crimes and working with partners to make our national sport inclusive, safe to watch and play in.”
It comes after statistics published last month revealed that 516 new football banning orders (FBOs) were issued during last season after a total of 2,198 arrests.
In 2018, more than 1,200 offenders were stopped from going to support England at the World Cup in Russia.
Banning orders for crimes involving hateful statements communicated via social media were first introduced on June 29.
The test that the court must apply when considering issuing a banning order has also changed to make it easier for these orders to be imposed. When prosecuting hate crimes, such as homophobic or racial abuse, the CPS will ask the courts for tougher penalties.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, NPCC Lead for Football Policing, said: “This updated policy reinforces the fact that we will not tolerate football related violence of any form – whether it be in and around stadiums or online whilst hiding behind a keyboard.
“New legislation means football banning orders are also now being issued to those cowards who post online abuse to players and staff, and it is right that people who commit these vile crimes are held accountable for their actions.”
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