The highest level of disruption in football stadiums in England and Wales in 8 years

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  • BBC – Sport

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The organizers of the English Premier League talk about invasions in stadiums and violence by fans

Football matches in England and Wales during the last season saw arrests and disturbances at an 8-year high.

According to Home Office data, 2,198 people have been arrested in connection with football-related incidents, the highest number recorded since the 2013-14 season.

In the 2020-2021 season, the stadiums returned to receive the fans at full capacity, after a year of restrictions imposed by the outbreak of Covid-19.

The disturbances of the last season included incidents, including attacks on players after fans invaded stadiums.

A fan was sentenced to prison after storming the pitch and headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp. It was at the end of a play-off between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

A decision was also issued to ban a Manchester City fan from attending football matches for four years. This fan stormed the pitch and mocked the Aston Villa goalkeeper – Robin Olsen – on the last day of the season at the Etihad Stadium.

Reported accidents and arrests

  • Accidents were reported in more than half of all matches (53%) – 1,609 out of 3,019 matches actually played
  • In the 2018-2019 season – the last before the spread of COVID-19 and associated restrictions – incidents were reported in 1,007 matches – an average of one-third of matches played.
  • This means that reported accidents increased by 60 percent during the last season compared to the 2018-2019 season
  • 441 pitch invasions were reported during the last season – a 127% increase compared to the 2018-2019 season
  • Football-related arrests increased by 59% – the highest number since the 2,273 recorded in the 2013-14 season.
  • 516 decisions were issued banning people from attending matches in stadiums
  • The clubs that issued the largest number of decisions to prevent matches from attending are – Millwall (33 decisions), Leicester City (28), and Everton (26).
  • The most frequently reported incidents were: fireworks (729 matches witnessed and reported); Throwing firecrackers (561), public order incidents and anti-social behavior involving young fans (444)

Fan behavior deteriorates

It follows comments made by England players Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, who said there was a problem with the behavior of football fans.

Deere, the Tottenham player, said he felt “insecure” about his family attending matches at opponents’ stadiums. While Henderson, the Liverpool captain, said his family’s experiences may prevent them from attending matches in the future.

Deer stresses that the behavior of the fans “certainly regressed”.

“For me, this is a serious problem,” says the Tottenham player. “There are my family and friends who had problems when they attended the Tottenham-Chelsea away game.”

“Here I would like to stress that it is not about the fans of a particular team; it is a scourge among football fans in general,” Der says.

Football field police chief Mark Roberts sees ground disturbances as a “problem” that no level in the professional football hierarchy or the English football league system is without.

“After constructive discussions with the Premier League, the Premier League and the Football Association, we are keen to support our partners in implementing their proposals, which include denying entry to stadiums for people who break into the pitches and for those who use fireworks,” says Roberts.

“We are also pleased with the government’s decision to add drug-related offenses to the match ban legislation. This will provide police with additional tools to deal with criminal and anti-social behavior of people under the influence of drugs,” added Roberts.

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