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FA toughen up measures around crowd trouble and fan behaviour at non league matches

The FA toughen up measures around crowd trouble and fan behaviour at non league matches, something we saw on opening weekend.

A campaign has been launched, alongside all leagues and clubs, to tackle criminal and antisocial actions from supporters.

Statements are being released by each club, saying they are supporting an all football approach to ensure that every football fan feels safe attending matches.

They specifically address pitch incursions, the use of smoke bombs and pyrotechnics, throwing objects, drug-taking and discriminatory behaviour.


As we commence the new season, we’re backing the introduction of strong measures across football to tackle antisocial and criminal behaviours within football grounds.

This includes entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyros and throwing objects onto the pitch, as well as discriminatory behaviour and taking drugs.

All of these actions are illegal, dangerous and have no place in our game. For everyone’s safety, all clubs will report anyone carrying out these offences to the police. Prosecution by the police can result in a permanent criminal record, which could affect your employment and education, and in some cases, result in a prison sentence.

Anyone who enters the pitch without permission or uses smoke bombs or pyros will now receive an automatic club ban. This could also now apply to the parents or guardians of children involved in these activities.

These measures reflect the seriousness of the risks to fans, volunteers and staff – pyros can burn at 2000 degrees Celsius and can cause life-changing injuries, burns and potentially fatal asthma attacks. Entering the pitch endangers everyone because it’s impossible to tell the difference between a celebrating fan and a violent attacker. That is why the pitch must remain a safe space for players, and the stands for supporters.



FA toughen up measures around crowd trouble and fan behaviour at non league matches

Tonbridge Angels Chairman, Dave Netherstreet said: “Many will feel that the kind of behaviour described above never involves Tonbridge Angels. Well let me say that within relatively recent memory there have been no less than three occurrences involving Angels games that would fall into the categories of ‘dangerous behaviour’. Only a few weeks ago we read in the press that a non-league pre-season friendly had to be abandoned because of dangerous behaviour by some fans – incredible, but it happened. It’s surely going to be a very exciting season for Angels supporters with the new pitch but please don’t lets spoil it by behaviour that threatens the safety of supporters and ruins the very special family atmosphere that we have at Longmead and for that matter when we visit other grounds. Make no mistake, we shall be calling for the toughest penalties should any attendee to our games makes the mistake of committing one of those offences detailed above and of course we shall be briefing our security and stewarding personnel appropriately.”

This season, clubs are supporting the FA, National League System Clubs and Leagues and the Football Supporters Association to make football a safer and more welcoming environment, by cracking down on dangerous behaviour that can put fans, players, staff and match officials at risk. They ask all supporters to come together to show that those who commit these illegal acts do not represent the majority of supporters.

Steve Thompson, Managing Director for Dagenham & Redbridge: “Unfortunately, we have not been immune to this. This season the football authorities, FA, PL, EFL & the National Game System have been working with government and police forces across the country to try and eradicate this behaviour. Last season we saw a handful of ejections, one arrest and several banning orders. This season we have been asked to take a more proacted stance against all types of antisocial and criminal behaviour. Anyone found evading the pitch, or in possession of a pyrotechnic, or throwing objects at opposition supporters, players or match officials will be dealt with immediately with an automatic club ban. These bans can also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in these activities. We will also support the police if they wish to prosecute, which could result in a permanent criminal record. The stance that we and the rest of football are taking shows how seriously we all view this. Most of our supporters, and those of other clubs, are law abiding and just want to watch the game and have an enjoyable experience. But there is always a minority who will cause trouble. Nobody should feel intimidated just for going to a football match. That includes players, managers and match officials who are at their place of work, just as much as supporters. I therefore call on everyone to enjoy the games, support the Daggers, but be respectful of others.” 

FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said: “We all know about the fantastic and unique role that football can play in bringing communities together. However, the rise in anti-social behaviour that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was entirely unacceptable and put people’s safety at risk. Together, English football has introduced new measures and stronger sanctions, for the start of the coming season, to send out a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of illegal and dangerous behaviour. Football stadiums must be a safe, inclusive and enjoyable environment for all, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the game, including governing bodies, clubs, players, coaches, and fans, to ensure that we all play our part in protecting our game and each other.” 
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “Everyone should feel safe and able to enjoy a football match. Together, with clubs and partners across football, we are making clear the type of incidents we saw last season must stop. If we don’t take collective and sustained action, it may only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, or worse. These new measures are a strong response to a significant increase in fan behaviour issues, but we know it is the minority who have behaved unacceptably and unlawfully. Premier League football should be a fantastic experience for everyone and we don’t want matches to be marred by these sorts of events in the future.”  
EFL Chief Executive Trevor Birch said: “This season sees new measures introduced and sanctions implemented that will serve to remind everyone attending games – but particularly the minority of people behaving in an offensive manner – that there are real life consequences for the criminal, dangerous and irresponsible conduct at football. It is wholly appropriate that these unacceptable behaviours will now be dealt with through a combination of police action and automatic club bans. There is nothing like going to watch your team live and that is why the English professional game has taken strong collective action, to ensure the match day experience remains a safe and welcoming environment for all including fans, players, club staff and match officials.”   
Football Supporters’ Association Chief Executive Kevin Miles said: “We are contacted by supporters on a fairly regular basis who have been caught jumping on the pitch, or with pyro in the stands, and without exception they regret doing it. Whether they had positive intentions or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the law – pyro and pitch incursions are illegal, you will be prosecuted and you will be banned by your club.” 
To support this new package of policies and actions, today marks the launch of an all-football campaign. ‘Love football. Protect the game’ will make clear the consequences of, and sanctions for, illegal and dangerous behaviour as we seek to urge fans to help us protect the game and keep everyone safe.   

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