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FSF event in Sheffield: Watching Football Is Not A Crime!

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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*Hillsborough, Sheridan Suite, Sheffield. Thursday, 3rd March 2011. Kick-off 7pm (for 7.30pm start). Free entry.

Register today from this link. All registered fans receive a free drink on arrival.

Watching Football Is Not A Crime! is a free Football Supporters’ Federation event, hosted by The Guardian’s award-winning writer David Conn. The event gives football fans their chance to put questions to a panel of experts including leading journalists, police and Home Office figures.

  • Do you think football fans are discriminated against?
  • Sick of having unnecessary early kick offs thrust upon you by the police?
  • Fed up of being told to sit down and shut up?
  • Tired of being herded into police escorts and treated like a criminal?
  • Think the use of Section 27 and Football Banning Orders is OTT?
  • Want your voice to be heard?

The event is free but registration is required, email your name to [email protected] along with any questions you’d like to ask. All registered fans receive a free drink on arrival and non-FSF members are welcome.

This is the second event of its type we have run, read more on London’s Sit Down, Shut Up! here. Of course as any manager will tell you a team is only as good as its individuals and likewise Watching Football Is Not A Crime! can only work with a cracking panel. Thankfully we’ve got that covered:

  • David Conn (chair)The Guardian’s award-winning writer is, in the word’s of one sports editor: “Britain’s most powerful campaigning voice on football’s finance, ownership structures and social responsibilities”. The FSF couldn’t agree more, he’s been our Writer of the Year on three separate occasions.
  • Rachel Barberof the UK Football Policing Unit. Rachel has been a police officer for 22 years and for the last six years been one of the match commanders in Sheffield responsible for the policing operation at Hillsborough, Bramall Lane and Don Valley Stadiums.
  • Francis Beckettauthor, broadcaster, and freelance journalist. Francis has in the past written of the experiences of football fan Cliff Auger who received some brutal police treatment while following his club Chelsea. Amongst others he has written for New Statesman, The Guardian and The Independent.
  • David Bohannanhead of the Home Office Football Unit.
  • Dr Mark Jamesresearcher in sports law at Salford Law School.  Mark has written extensively on the impact of the law on sport and in particular on the ways that the law is used to control football spectators.  His recent work has focused on the legality of the tactics used by police to collect the evidence needed to apply for Football Banning Orders against football spectators.

Further timing and venue information

Fans should arrive for 7pm and the event will kick-off at around 7.30pm, this gives plenty of time for everyone to grab a drink and get settled. We’ll then have two Q&A sessions lasting around one hour, all overseen by David Conn, with a 15 minute refreshment break in the middle. We’re sure it’s a format football fans are vaguely familiar with. If everything’s as interesting as expected, there might even be extra time…everything should be wrapped up for 10.30pm latest when there’ll be time for a few pints and some chit-chat with fellow fans.

The event will take place at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough, Sheffield, S6 1SW in the Sheridan Suite (South Stand). Parking facilities are available off the A61 (aka Penistone Road/Barnsley Road). Any supporters getting the tram from Sheffield city centre should get on a tram heading towards Middlewood (yellow route) and disembark at Leppings Lane. Trams run every 10 minutes or so and take around 15 minutes from city centre to Hillsborough.

The venue has disabled access – if you would like to register or have any other queries regards access please email [email protected].

Register for free and claim your free drink here.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball