Drug-related crimes in football could mean a five-year ban

England were ordered to play a match behind closed doors as punishment for unrest at Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final.
England were ordered to play a match behind closed doors as punishment for unrest at Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final.

Anyone caught in possession or supply of football-related Class A drugs faces a five-year suspension and their passport is withdrawn.

The new rules announced by the UK government are expected to be introduced during the 2022-23 season.

“Middle-class cocaine users must stop fooling themselves,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Their habit is fueling a war in our streets bringing misery and crime across our country and beyond.”

There have been over 800 football-related arrests in the top five English leagues in the first six months of this season, along with over 750 reported incidents of disorder.

A report in violence in the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy last year also discovered that “bandits without tickets, drunks and junkies” could have caused the death when they stormed Wembley.

The government said the new rules, which were supported by the National Council of Chiefs of Police, were being introduced “in an attempt to stop these hooligans from causing violence and disruption”.

They will mean that those convicted of drug-related offenses may have to hand over their passports when their team plays abroad.

“It was an exciting football season, but in some games we saw ugly violence that shocked all the leagues,” said Minister of Police, Crime and Parole Kit Malthouse.

“The police are increasingly finding Class A drugs at the center of this disorder and that’s why we must act. The football family wants every pitch to be a safe space for fans, especially children, and so do we.

“Football ban orders have changed the game to eradicate racism and violence in football, and now we want them to do the same with drug-related disorder.”

The government said the announced changes will be implemented through the extension of football ban orders, imposed by a court after a football-related offense and designed to prevent violence and disorder at games.

They can currently be imposed on people convicted of racist or homophobic violence, disorder and chanting, and have recently been extended to cover online hate crimes.

“I am pleased that the government has updated the football ban legislation to combat the growing disorder problems we have seen, in part due to Class A drug use,” said NPCC Football Leader Mark Roberts.

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