Automatic ban for pitch attackers and crackdown on smoke bombs as football tackles fan violence

English football’s blueprint for automatic bans on pitch invaders and fans setting off smoke bombs is part of English football’s blueprint to tackle rising cases of crowd disorder in the Premier League and beyond. Police are adding more sniffer dogs and permanent criminal records for hooligans to the Premier League, Football League and FA’s arsenal for this season.

Football’s three authorities, with the approval of fans’ groups, announced a “new set of actions” following a rise in trouble which peaked at the end of last season. The pitch invasions which saw Manchester City and Everton fans clash with players and club staff were a major cause of concern for governing bodies in particular.

From now on, any fan who invades the pitch will be automatically banned from the club and reported to the police. The sport also says it will have zero tolerance for carrying or using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics, drug use and discrimination.

In the past, authorities took a case-by-case approach to pitch invasions, even though it has been a criminal offense for more than 30 years.

However, scenes involving players from Sheffield United and Aston Villa – as well as clashes with Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira – prompted officials to develop a more uniform response.

“These actions are dangerous, illegal and have serious consequences,” a joint statement said. “They have no place in football or anywhere else. From the start of the 2022/23 season, all identified offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, That could affect their employment and education, and lead to prison terms.”

The FA added that it would also “impose a stricter charging and sanctioning policy for clubs, which will underpin these measures”.

“Furthermore, anyone who enters the arena and is identified as carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs will now be automatically banned from the club.”

“These restrictions may also be extended to parents or guardians of children participating in these activities.

“The safety of everyone attending a match day is a collective priority for the game. We know that the behavior of some fans last season is not representative of the majority of supporters and that it is a threat to everyone at a football match. risk ruining a great experience. Working with clubs to highlight the important role that fans, clubs, players and coaches have to play in helping to create a safe environment.”

The use of smoke bombs in matches has also increased steadily. At the end of last season, Everton’s then Richarlison was charged with inappropriate behavior after picking up, carrying and throwing one while celebrating a goal.
Football officials say they are “working with police forces, the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) and the Crown Prosecution Service to establish a new system for cases involving pyrotechnics and smoke bombs as well as pitch trespassing”. Working to establish norms”.

‘Sending a clear and unambiguous message will now be the default response to lawbreakers’

The statement added: “This will mean that cooperating with prosecutions in these cases will become the default response of football authorities and the criminal justice system, sending a clear and unequivocal message to those who break the law. Will send.”

Other measures being implemented include working with clubs to enhance detection systems and increasing the use of sniffer dogs at the ground, the statement added.

The FA’s chief executive, Mark Billingham, said: “Together, English football has introduced new measures and stricter restrictions for the start of the coming season, to send a clear message that we do not accept this type of illegal and dangerous behavior. behavior will not be tolerated.”

Premier League CEO Richard Masters added: “If we don’t take collective and sustained action, it may only be a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured, or worse.”

The PFA’s Mehita Mulingo said: “The incidents at the end of last season, which involved violence against players and staff on the pitch, were completely unacceptable… Today’s announcement is welcome. Because it reflects the fact that this is being done. Taken seriously by those who are responsible for ensuring that athletes are safe in their workplace.”