Football has changed substantially over the last 30 years – whereas English fans previously had a reputation for widespread violence and hooliganism, such problems are far less common than they were in the 1980s. However, there does continue to be incidences of violence that threaten the safety of others attending football matches or members of the general public. Football banning orders are one of the legal methods used to combat football-related violence and disorder.
If you find yourself subject to a football banning order, contact the specialist criminal defence solicitors at Wilford Smith. We will take a strategic, robust and results-driven approach on your behalf to challenge such an order – our skills in advocacy and litigation mean that we have a proven track record in defeating attempts made by the police to have football banning orders put in place.
What is a football banning order?
A football banning order is a civil order – rather than criminal - which may be imposed following a conviction for a football-related offence. When the offence in question involves violence, a football banning order must always be made by the court. For lesser offences, the court must put in place a banning order if it is satisfied that doing so would prevent future acts of football-related disorder or violence.
It is not a requirement that an individual has been convicted of a criminal offence before a football banning order can also be imposed. Even in cases where someone has been acquitted of a football-related offence, the police can still apply for a banning order if they believe doing so will prevent future violence or disorder.
What is a football-related offence?
There is no specific definition for what constitutes an offence as football-related – but for an application for a football banning order to be successful, it must be shown that the offence could be considered as such. To demonstrate this, the Crown may rely on evidence such as tickets, programmes, or the wearing of football colours or strips. The behaviour does not need to take place at a football ground – these offences can take place many miles away and still be considered football-related.
What restrictions can someone who is the subject of a football banning order face?
As well as being prevented from attending football matches, an individual may be restricted from entering specified areas. This could include the area surrounding football grounds, public houses or other areas that are considered likely ‘hotspots' for violence if matches are taking place. They may also be barred from travelling on public transport on the day of a game. Other common restrictions include the requirement to hand over passports during periods where international matches or tournaments are taking place, and to report to a local police station during control periods.
Contact our Specialist Football Banning Order Solicitors in Sheffield and London
We offer a uniquely client-focused service for all of our clients; whatever your circumstances, our solicitors will be on hand to explain matters clearly to you and to answer any questions you may have.