Football-related arrests soar amid rising violent unrest

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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Football-related arrests have skyrocketed amid an increase in violent unrest and pitch incursions, according to new figures.

There were nearly 2,200 arrests at international and domestic matches involving English and Welsh clubs, and the national teams, during the 2012-22 season.

The figure is 59% higher than 2018-19, which was the last normal year of play before the Covid pandemic, and the biggest for eight years.

A Home Office report said two-thirds of arrests took place inside football pitches, rather than areas around stadiums, and the most common offense was public disorder.

Arrests for violent disorder rose 72% from the 2018-19 season, while the number of people detained for pitch invasions and missile launches also increased.

The stats were released after police urged football to ‘press the reset button’ after a season marked by rising violence and disorder.

As the new Premier League season got underway in August, authorities announced a crackdown on unsafe fan behavior with restraining orders targeting cocaine users and powers to ban fans from accessing flares and pyrotechnics.

PC Adam Collins, a Derbyshire Constabulary football officer, told independent forces across the country that the increase in unrest was not confined to one area of ​​the country or even England, several countries in Europe reporting an increase in football-related violence. following the Covid pandemic.

“We were in a really good place before Covid, everything was falling apart,” he added.

“I think a lot of that stems from the pandemic, people have been restricted and banned from football games for 18 months.”

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority said there had been “significant risks to crowd safety” due to an increasing number of ground invasions and the use of pyrotechnics.

As Home Secretary Priti Patel has extended football banning orders to target cocaine use and online abuse of players and branded ‘thugs who cause violence and disorder’ at matches matches of “a national disgrace”.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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