Information On Football Banning Orders

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Arrested at football? Are you looking at a football banning order? Then the below information may help..


Football (Disorder) Act 2000 – Report to Parliament, November 2005
Paragraph 9.1

“Football Banning Orders played a major part in minimising the risk of disorder during Euro 2004. In total 2,370 known troublemakers were prevented from travelling to the tournament by virtue of their banning orders. This represents a significant increase on the 105 prevented from travelling to Euro 2000 and 1,053 prevented from travelling to the 2002 World cup in Japan and Korea.”

Gough & Another v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [2002] EWCA Civ 351
“In our judgment these statutory provisions, if given their natural meaning, are capable of being interpreted in a manner which is harsh and disproportionate.”
The two quotations above illustrate the tension that exists between the need, on the one hand, to take effective action to prevent violence and disorder at football matches and, on the other, protect the legitimate rights of the individual.

According to the November 2005 Report to Parliament between 1977 and the drafting of the 2000 Act the attention of the various enforcement authorities increasingly focussed on the activities of English football fans oversees. Serious outbursts of violence and disorder were catalogued: Luxembourg (1977), Turin (1980), Basle (1981), Oslo (1981), Paris (1984), West Germany (1988), Italy (1990), Sweden (1992), Rome (1997), Marseille (1988), Glasgow (1999), Copenhagen (2000), Brussels (2000) and Charleroi (2000).

Before the advent of the FSA the powers granted to the courts allowing for offenders to be excluded from football matches were divided between provisions relating to domestic football matches and those played abroad. The power to ban attendance at games within the UK was contained in the Public Order Act 1986. The FSA, in its original guise in 1989, introduced restriction orders to prevent travel to foreign games.

Following high profile disorder during Euro 2000 the Home Office launched an initiative with two objectives;
1. The introduction of tough measures designed to increase the number of persons with a track record of causing problems who could be prevented from travelling to matches overseas, and
2. Steering a multi-agency review of the dynamics of football disorder and the measures required to supplement the then proposed new legislation.

It was felt that the 945 arrests and expulsions resulting from Euro 2000 demonstrated that the existing powers were not sufficient to prevent English fans from being involved in serious incidents overseas. The problems seemed to be compounded by the reluctance of some foreign authorities to take action beyond arrest and expulsion, measures that seemed to result only in repeat behaviour.

According to the Home Office the measures contained in the 2000 Act were designed to:

These objectives were intended to be achieved by the introduction of four key legislative changes –

  1. Removal of the previous distinction between domestic and international banning orders.
  2. Placing an obligation on the court making a banning order to require the subject to report to a designated police station and surrender their passport when instructed to do so by the Football Banning Orders Authority.
  3. Enabling the court to make a banning order on complaint brought by the police (prior to this banning orders could only be prompted by a conviction for a football related offence).
  4. Providing the police with powers during “designated control periods” for international and club matches to;
    1. Intercept individuals who have previously caused or contributed to any violence or disorder in the UK or elsewhere, and
    2. Issue a notice preventing the individual from travelling which simultaneously commences a civil application for a football banning order within 24 hours.

It was decided that the measures would be time limited. Initially, they were introduced for a period of 12 months. There followed a further extension for 12 months and then the Football (Disorder) (Amendment) Act 2002 extended them for 5 years. The present expiry date is 21 August 2007. However, the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, when in force, will remove the time limitation  altogether.


The current legislative framework in England and Wales of enforcement action against football related violence and disorder is contained in the Football Spectators Act 1989 (the FSA) as amended by Football (Disorder) Act 2000. The following are the main features;

Police Powers

Football Spectators Act 1989 (FSA) 21A: detaining suspected individuals

  1. This section and 21B apply during any control period in relation to a regulated a football match outside England and Wales or an external tournament if a constable in uniform -
    1. has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the condition in section 14B(2) (application for a civil banning order) is met in the case of a person present before him, and
    2. has reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order in his case would help to prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with any regulated football matches.
  2. The constable may detain the person in his custody (whether there or elsewhere) until he has decided whether or not to issue a notice under section 21B, and shall give his reasons for detaining him in writing.

FSA, section 21B: notice of proceedings to detained individuals

  1. A constable in uniform may exercise the power in subsection (2) if authorised to do so by an officer of at least the rank of inspector.
  2. The constable may give the person a notice in writing requiring him –
    1. to appear before a magistrates’ court at a time, or between the times, specified in the notice,
    2. not to leave England and Wales before that time (or the later of those times), and
    3. if the control period relates to a regulated football match outside the UK or to an external tournament which includes such matches, to surrender his passport to the constable,
      and stating the grounds referred to in section 21A.
  3. For the purposes of section 14B, the notice is to be treated as an application for a banning order made by complaint by the constable to the court in question and subsection (1) of that section is to have effect as if the references to the chief officer of police for the area in which the person resides or appears to reside were references to that constable.

FSA, 21C: nationality of individuals subject to 21A and 21B

  1. The powers conferred by sections 21A and 21B may only be exercised in relation to a person who is a British citizen.
  2. A person who fails to comply with a notice given to him under section 21B is guilty of an offence. Summary only: 6 months imprisonment and/or level 5 fine.
  3. Where a person appears before a magistrates’ court in compliance with a notice under section 21B (whether under arrest or not) the court may remand him.
  4. A person remanded on bail under (3) may be required by bail conditions
    1. not to leave England and Wales before his appearance before the court, and
    2. if the control period relates to a regulated football match outside the UK or to an external tournament which includes such matches, to surrender his passport to a police constable.

FSA, 21D: compensation

  1. Where a person to whom notice is given under section 21B appears before a magistrates’ court and the court refuses the application for a banning order it may order compensation to be paid to him out of central funds if it is satisfied -
    1. that the notice should not have been given,
    2. that he has suffered loss as a result of the giving of that notice, and
    3. that, having regard to all the circumstances, it is appropriate to order the payment of compensation in respect of that loss.
  2. An appeal lies to the Crown Court against any refusal by the magistrates’ court to order the payment of compensation under subsection (1).
  3. The payment of compensation by order under subsections (1) or (2) shall not exceed £5000 (but no appeal may be made under subsection (2) in respect of the amount of compensation awarded.

Court Powers

Football banning orders are made in the following situations;

  1. As part of the sentence imposed for a relevant offence (section 14A of the Football Spectators Act 1989).
  2. On the court hearing a civil application made by the police for a football banning order even though there is no conviction for an offence (section 14B of the Football Spectators Act 1989).