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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Football fan gets World Cup ban
England playing Jamaica in a friendly warm-up to the World Cup
The football fan has been banned from travelling to the World Cup
A 20-year-old football fan has been banned from travelling to the World Cup after being detained by police at Stansted Airport.

Robbie Varle, of Dunstable, Beds, is thought to be the first England fan to be prevented from travelling to Germany in the run-up to the 2006 tournament.

Magistrates used powers under the Football Spectators Act 1989 to ban Varle from matches for three years.

It also stops him travelling to see England games abroad.

Adam Hunt, for Essex Police, told magistrates that Manchester United fan Varle had three convictions for public order offences.

Stopped at airport

They related to incidents at a nightclub, a concert and a football match.

Mr Hunt said Varle was stopped at Stansted Airport on Monday while attempting to board a flight to Frankfurt.

He said the trainee plumber's attitude had caused police concern.

Mr Hunt told the court on Wednesday: "He (Varle) said that without the boys who are handy, the rest of the English fans may have problems with opposing fans, especially the Polish."

Outside court Varle, who was not legally represented during the hearing, said he planned to find a solicitor and appeal against the ban.

Civil liberty concerns

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation, said he was concerned that legislation designed to stop soccer hooliganism was impinging on civil liberties.

Mr Clarke said: "There is real danger that in attempting to prevent any trouble at football grounds people's civil liberties are being affected."

He added: "The question seems to be if this man wasn't banned by the Portsmouth magistrates why should he be banned now if he hasn't committed any further offences.

"It would almost seem to be a case of the police saying that they think the magistrate in Portsmouth got it wrong and they want another go."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We are pleased that the magistrates have decided to impose a three year banning order.

"And the message to anyone thinking of going to Germany to cause trouble is don't - because we will stop you."

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