MPs propose penalty for ticket-dodging at football

Wembley chaos spurs call for new criminal offence after Euro final and Champions League woes

A spectator is tackled by security after invading the pitch during the Emirates FA Cup, second-round match at Cherry Red Records Stadium, London. PA
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Members of Parliament have put forward a suggestion to make unauthorised entry into football matches a criminal offence.

The proposal comes after the disorder at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, after an inquiry into spectator safety issues, highlighted concerns from incidents at Wembley and problems faced by Liverpool fans at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris.

The proposal is a response to the situation during the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, where fans without tickets tried to enter Wembley using fake tickets, tailgating, or by force.

Uefa bans fans at next England home match over Wembley chaos

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 11, 2021 England fans cheer on their team outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between England and Italy in northwest London.  - England must play their next home match in a UEFA competition behind closed doors following disorder at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, European football's governing body ruled on October 18, 2021.  The showpiece game between England and Italy on July 11 was marred by chaotic scenes as ticketless supporters forced their way through security cordons to gain entry to the stadium.  (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N  /  AFP)

Currently, there is no distinct criminal offence for unauthorised stadium entry. The committee is advocating for the government to support a bill introduced by member Kevin Brennan.

This bill aims to create such an offence and to allow the imposition of football banning orders on conviction.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, chairwoman of the committee, highlighted the issue of tailgating and other forms of unauthorised entry, noting the safety risks from overcrowding at high-profile matches.

“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 criticised the treatment of Liverpool fans at the Stade de France in Paris, where fans with legitimate tickets were denied entry, and the police used pepper spray and tear gas.

The committee described the treatment of Liverpool fans as “disgraceful” and pointed out the often problematic attitude of foreign police towards British fans.

Dame Dinenage urged the government to work with overseas officials to strengthen the role of British police accompanying teams abroad and to enhance collaboration with local forces.

This effort aims to better protect British fans attending major football games outside the UK.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 12:01 AM