The Football Association, Premier League and English Football League have announced “new measures and stronger sanctions” to crack down on anti-social and criminal behaviours, including automatic club bans for pitch invaders.
Dangerous behaviour from select fans became a talking point throughout last season. Robin Olsen was assaulted at Manchester City and a Nottingham Forest fan was jailed for headbutting Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp.
The new measures are designed to target activities like pitch invasions, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics and throwing objects as well as drug use and discriminatory behaviour.
“These acts are dangerous, illegal and have severe consequences. They have no place in football, or anywhere,” part of a statement reads.
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.”
It is an offence for supporters to enter the pitch without lawful authority or lawful excuse under the Football Offences Act 1991 but offenders aren’t always prosecuted. Under these new measures, prosecution will become the main response.