Football disorder in England and Wales is now bit of a problem

Last season, there were the most arrests and reported acts of unrest at football events in England and Wales in eight years.

According to Home Office data, there were 2,198 football-related arrests, the most since the 2013-14 season.

After a year of Covid-19 restrictions, the 2021-22 campaign witnessed the restoration of capacity audiences.

During last season’s chaos, players were approached after pitch invasions.

At the end of Nottingham Forest’s play-off match against Sheffield United, a fan ran onto the pitch and headbutted Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp.

On the final day of the season at Etihad Stadium, a Manchester City fan ran onto the pitch and abused Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen, receiving a four-year football ban.

It follows statements made recently by England internationals Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, who both stated that there is a problem with supporter behaviour in sports.

Tottenham’s Dier believes attending away games with his family is “too unpleasant,” while Liverpool captain Henderson says his family’s experiences may “put them off travelling to future games.”

“[Fan behaviour] has definitely got worse,” Dier said.

“For me it is a serious problem. I had some family and friends at the Chelsea away game with Tottenham and they had problems.

“I wanted to emphasise it was both sets of fans – I am not saying it is Chelsea fans or Tottenham fans, it is football fans in general.”

Henderson added: “My family and friends have had a couple of experiences over the last couple of years, which has really shocked them and probably put them off going to future games.

“When you see scenes like you have in the Euros final, in the Champions League final, then they don’t really want to go and put themselves in that situation again.

“My wife and kids had to try and get in a side door (at Wembley) which they wouldn’t let them in at the beginning. And they were trapped.”

Football Policing Lead chief constable Mark Roberts says disorder is a “problem” that has not gone away from any level of the professional football pyramid.

“Following constructive talks with the Premier League, English Football League and Football Association we are keen to support our partners in delivering their proposals – which include the introduction of stadium bans for people who enter the pitch, as well as those who use pyrotechnics,” said Roberts.

“We are also pleased that the Government is adding Class A drugs offences to the banning order legislation. This will provide police with another option to tackle criminal and anti-social behaviour by those who are under the influence of drugs.”

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