Posted on 2nd June 2016
First Things First
Posted on 2nd June 2016
This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.
Football Banning Orders (FBO) were introduced to prevent violence and disorder at domestic regulated football matches and games played overseas. Their original targets were those regularly involved in disorder.
Today in practice the list of football-related offences that can end up in the imposition of an FBO appears to be a long one, and includes offences other than Violent Disorder or Affray. For an offence to be deemed football-related it has to occur within 24 hours of the start or finish of a match, and further indicators of its relation to football have included being in possession of a match ticket, or a fanzine, or even a football tattoo when the offence took place.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidelines state “Simple cautions or penalty notices for disorder will hardly ever be appropriate for football-related offences…” and this thinking is clearly reflected in the content of our casework.
The vast majority of people who come to us for referral to a specialist solicitor are first time offenders charged with non-violent offences, and yet attached to their charge sheet is the more or less inevitable FBO Application.
If a supporter is convicted of a football-related offence, a court is required to consider granting the FBO application “if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that it would help to prevent violence or disorder”.
In some cases the test is properly applied, but in our experience it just as often isn’t, meaning that a first time offender can end up being banned from football matches for a minimum of three years for a minor offence such as being “drunk while entering a football stadium”.
When drafting the conditions of the FBO no consideration is given as to whether or not the subject of the banning order has ever followed their club or country overseas, yet it is a blanket condition that passports must be surrendered, and by today police around the country will be in possession of over a thousand passports to be held for the duration of Euro 2016. (Note: 1929 individuals are currently serving FBOs. Not all will have passports and some may have been granted exemptions.)
So taking this into consideration, let’s look at some of the quotes that have appeared unchallenged in both national and local media in recent days:
Thanks to David McKelvey for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under CC license.
Earlier today it was reported that clubs at the top of the Premier League had been planning in secret to pursue a wide-ranging restructure of the English footballing pyramid named “Project Big Picture”. Below is an initial statement of response from the Football Supporters’ Association.
The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the Football Supporters’ Association will unite for a social media boycott from 3pm on Friday 30th April to 11.59pm on Monday 3rd May, in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.
Social media companies must do more to stop online abuse. That is why this weekend we are coming together with English football and other sports and organisations, to boycott social media and demand change.