MANCHESTER: British MPs are calling for the creation of a new criminal offence of unlawfully entering a football match, plus better collaboration between UK and overseas police to improve safety at sports event at home and abroad.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee report “Safety at major sporting events” released on Friday was made after its inquiry into fan safety during the Euro 2020 final at Wembley and chaotic scenes involving Liverpool supporters at the 2022 Champions League final.
“Fans flocking to festive fixtures at this time of year should be able to enjoy time with family and friends in sports grounds that are secure, inclusive and welcoming environments,” committee chair Caroline Dinenage said.
“Sadly, the rise in disorder at football post-pandemic and near disasters that occurred at Wembley and in Paris have shown there is much to be done to ensure a safe time for all.”
The report said the treatment of Liverpool fans by French authorities at the Champions League final was “disgraceful”, and that the attitude of foreign police forces to UK football fans heavily contributed to the chaos.
Dinenage said tailgating and other forms of unauthorised entry into grounds were an increasing problem at high-profile matches and put 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,” she said.
The committee said the lack of a distinct criminal penalty that includes the use of Football Banning Orders is allowing unauthorised entry to continue unchallenged, and it is calling on the government to pass into law the Unauthorised Entry to Football Matches Bill.
Among other recommendations were that sports bodies should increase their financial contribution toward the safety of fans outside stadiums, and that the government should introduce a centralised system to report discrimination and antisocial behaviour at matches.