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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 06:28 GMT
Hooligan bans reach record high
Cardiff and Millwall fans clash in Cardiff in 1999
Bans can be imposed on conviction of a football-related offence
A record number of football hooligans were prevented from attending games at home and abroad during the last season.

The number of new football banning orders issued in England and Wales in 2004-5 topped 1,000 - bringing the total number of bans in place to 3,153.

The overall number of football-related arrests fell 11% to 3,628 with Leeds United having most fans arrested - 173.

The statistics were published as Home Office Minister Paul Goggins launched a new UK-wide football policing unit.

It is clear that the tough legislation to stamp out football hooliganism together with targeted policing is continuing to be effective.
Paul Goggins
Home Office minister

The Home Office report said that although there remained a "lingering domestic football disorder problem", the number of arrests was low.

In two-thirds of all matches no arrests were made, while one arrest or fewer was made at eight out of 10 games.

This was despite the highest number of football league attendances for 35 years - with more than 29m people going to league matches.

Mr Goggins said the statistics were extremely encouraging.

BANNING ORDERS IN 2004-5
Leeds United - 128
Portsmouth - 133
Manchester United 101
Millwall - 101
Middlesbrough - 73
Nottingham Forest - 77
Sheffield Wednesday - 61

"With an 11% decrease in the number of football-related arrests and an average of just 1.21 arrests per game it is clear that the tough legislation to stamp out football hooliganism together with targeted policing is continuing to be effective.

"I am particularly pleased to see that only six arrests were made at overseas England and Wales international matches, building on the generally excellent behaviour of fans attending Euro 2004."

This was reassuring coming in the run-up to next year's world cup in Germany, he added.

But he added: "We are not complacent. Football hooliganism is still a lingering menace, albeit among a small minority of supporters, and we will not tolerate it."

This was why he was launching a new UK football policing unit which will provide a direct link between intelligence, police operations and banning orders, he said.

David Swift, Deputy Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police and senior police spokesman on football issues, said the statistics showed that the measures were working.

He said: "Attendances are up, problems are down so now is the time to continue with the tactics that were working - encouraging genuine fans and seeking to ban those who would spoil things for the overwhelming majority."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the type of violence that led to banning orders being introduced



SEE ALSO:
Jailed hooligan plays in Euro tie
25 Aug 05 |  South West Wales
Operation targets hooligan fans
16 Aug 05 |  London


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