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MPs seek to make unauthorised entry into football grounds a criminal offence

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Dec 2023

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MPs have recommended the creation of a new criminal offence of unauthorised entry to a football match to counter the sort of disorder seen at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The Culture Media and Sport Committee has completed an inquiry into spectator safety issues following the trouble seen both at Wembley, and the problems encountered by Liverpool fans at last year’s Champions League final in Paris.

The Euro 2020 final between England and Italy saw a number of fans without tickets attempting to gain entry to Wembley either with fake tickets, through tailgating or by force.

There is currently no distinct criminal offence regarding unauthorised entry to a stadium, and the Committee has called on the Government to back a bill introduced by committee member Kevin Brennan MP which would create an offence and allow a football banning order to be imposed on conviction.

Chair of the Committee Dame Caroline Dinenage MP 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.”

The issues seen in Paris last summer were very different, with the authorities found to be at fault for major problems around the Stade de France despite their attempts to pin the blame on Liverpool supporters.

Several fans were denied entry despite having legitimate tickets for Liverpool’s match against Real Madrid, while police also used pepper spray and tear gas.

The Committee called the treatment Liverpool fans received “disgraceful” and said the attitude of foreign police forces towards British fans was a significant factor.

Dame Dinenage added: “At big games in Europe, too often the attitude of foreign police to British fans leads to unacceptable treatment of innocent supporters.

“The Government needs to work with overseas counterparts to bolster the role of British police travelling with teams and collaboration with local forces.”

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