Football banning orders
Putting the boot in: football banning orders
As we enter the second half of the 2022/2023 football season, every match could be one that can make or break a season. With Newcastle looking to secure European football, Middlesbrough and Sunderland hoping for promotion success, while Everton fans desperately hope to avoid going the other way, many football fans will want to watch these games live at football grounds across the country.
However, this is not an option for anyone subject to a football banning order. These orders are increasingly being used to police fans attending games, which the number issued in the first half of this season up 230% compared to the same period last year. It’s therefore important to know where you stand if you face being made subject to a football banning order.
What is a football banning order?
At its most basic, it is an order that bans an individual from attending football matches, within the UK and abroad, from non-league to international matches.
These orders can also include additional restrictions, such as having to surrender your passport before certain international matches or tournaments, exclusion zones around stadiums which you cannot enter during specific times, and a prohibition on train travel without permission from the police.
Banning orders can be made for a period of between 3 and 10 years, depending on the specific circumstances in which it is made. When you consider the range of restrictions that can be imposed, the total impact and restrictions imposed can be significant.
When can an order be made?
The order can be made after conviction for a variety of offences committed in connection with a football match. These range from possessing a firework or flare in the ground to being involved in violence, and can even include offences on the way to a match.
If you have been convicted of one of the specified offences, a football banning order must be made unless the Court is satisfied that it would be unjust to do so. In cases where an order is not made, the Crown Prosecution Service can appeal against the decision not to impose an order to the Crown Court.
In addition, an order can be made without a conviction if, following an application by the police, the Court is satisfied a banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder at football matches.
What if I breach the terms of the order?
Failing to comply with the terms of a football banning order is a criminal offence for which, if convicted, you could receive a custodial sentence. If you face proceedings for breaching a Football Banning Order, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Can I appeal a football banning order?
If you are made subject to an order by the Magistrates’ Court, you can in some cases appeal against this decision to the Crown Court. You can also apply to the court to change the conditions of the order and, if two-thirds of the order’s duration has passed, it is possible to apply for the order to be ended early.
The rules around appealing a football banning order can be complicated but our expert criminal solicitors will be able to give you advice on your options and prospects if you are considering an appeal, and represent you at court if needed.
Can I get legal aid to challenge a football banning order?
You may be able to get legal aid depending upon the facts of your case and your financial eligibility. Our dedicated crime team is able to advise whether you are eligible and assist with an application for legal aid tailored to your specific circumstances. Give them a call on 0191 2329547.