Spectator safety: Inquiry by MPs backs bans for unauthorised entry to football matches

29 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Ros Atkins on… the trouble at Wembley

The creation of a new criminal offence of unauthorised entry to football matches has been recommended by MPs.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee called for its introduction following an inquiry into spectator safety.

It comes after the disorder at the Euro 2020 final, when people without tickets tried to get into Wembley Stadium to watch England’s defeat by Italy.

A distinct criminal offence regarding unauthorised entry would allow a football banning order to be imposed.

Chair of the committee Dame Caroline Dinenage said: “Tailgating and other forms of unauthorised entry into grounds are an increasing problem at high-profile matches putting safety at risk from overcrowding.

“Those involved should know that they will face consequences and the government should back legislation to ensure they can be banned.”

A review found “ticketless, drunken and drugged-up thugs” could have caused death at the Euro 2020 final.

Watch: Fans shared videos showing pepper spray being deployed and children crying in Paris

The inquiry also looked at the events at the 2022 Champions League final, when Liverpool supporters were penned in and teargassed outside Paris’s Stade de France.

An independent report subsequently found Uefa primarily responsible for the chaotic scenes.

The committee described the treatment of Liverpool fans as “disgraceful” and recommended the government “work to foster improved relationships with other governments on policing sporting events” after it found the attitude of foreign police forces to UK football fans heavily contributed to the events which unfolded.

In addition, the committee called for the government to work with police and sporting bodies to introduce a centralised system for reporting and recording acts of discrimination and antisocial behaviour.

It also said further work must be undertaken by police to understand the prevalence of drug supply and possession at sporting events amid the increasing use of Class A drugs, while safety would be further improved by the introduction of minimum stewarding standards.

The report added safe standing pilots “should be encouraged” at clubs with a comprehensive stewarding plan, but the committee called on the Sports Ground Safety Authority to update its Green Guide to include accessibility and inclusion requirements at new and redeveloped stadia.