UK

Football Banning Orders for more than 100 under-18s

French police watch England fans outside a bar in Lille, on Wednesday 15 June during Euro 2016 Image copyright AP
Image caption FBOs can stop fans travelling to tournaments like Euro 2016, where there has been violence

More than 100 under-18s have been banned from attending football matches in the last three years, according to figures from Britain's police forces.

The youngest person to get a Football Banning Order (FBO) - used to prevent disorder and hooliganism - was aged 12.

Figures for different police areas vary, with 43 FBOs for under-18s in one force's area and none in many others.

People with FBOs may have to surrender passports before overseas matches, such as the current Euro 2016 tournament.

England fans - and those from countries including Russia and Croatia - have been involved in violence at the championship in France.

FBOs can be issued by courts after a football-related conviction, or following complaints by police forces or prosecutors.

They can last from three to 10 years, and breaching an order can lead to a £5,000 fine or a prison sentence.

'Concerted effort'

The figures on FBOs, obtained by the Press Association through the Freedom of Information Act, cover the three years up to March 2016.

The case of the 12-year-old given a ban came after he threw missiles and was abusive during disorder after Newcastle United were beaten 3-0 by Sunderland in 2013, Northumbria Police said.

The same force has the highest number of FBOs for under-18s. The 43 FBOs in its area apply to 38 Newcastle United and five Sunderland fans

Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: "We recognise these numbers are high but a large number of these orders were issued following the Tyne-Wear derby in April 2013 where several young people got involved in disorder.

"Following this game we made a concerted effort to change the way we work and engage with the thriving football community that exists in the North East."

He said fans had behaved "impeccably" during the 2015-16 season.

The 106 FBOs for under-18s include:

  • 13 in Scotland, identified as fans of Celtic, Hamilton, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United, Dunfermline, Motherwell and Rangers
  • 10 in London - fans of AFC Wimbledon, Brentford, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Millwall and Queens Park Rangers
  • a fan of Turkish side Galatasaray (British Transport Police data)
  • None in Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and more than a dozen other force areas

Geoff Pearson, a senior law lecturer at Manchester University, said there were "huge discrepancies" in how forces used FBO legislation.

Amanda Jacks, from the Football Supporters' Federation, said FBOs should be a "last resort" for children, and more should be done to encourage young people to keep out of trouble at games.

Police forces were also asked about the oldest people given FBOs - and these included a 60-year-old Arsenal fan and a man of 64 in the Lancashire Police area.

The government said a total of 2,181 FBOs were in force (covering all age groups) in September 2015.

Data was requested from police forces in England, Scotland and Wales. Eight forces either failed to respond or did not supply the requested information.

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