More than 1,300 English and Welsh fans banned from travelling during Fifa World Cup

Supporters who have previously been convicted of football-related disorder offences must surrender their passports

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The British authorities will prevent more than 1,300 hooligans from travelling to Qatar during the World Cup to reduce the risk of disorder.

England and Wales supporters who have previously been convicted of football-related disorder offences must surrender their passports from Friday.

The UK Home Office made the announcement before the start of the tournament in Doha on Sunday, November 20.

It said that those who fail to hand over their passport and attempt to travel to the tournament without permission between November 10 and the end of the World Cup on December 18, could face up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine.

"We are all looking forward to cheering England and Wales on in Qatar and we will not let the behaviour of a minority of lawbreakers tarnish what will be an exciting tournament," said Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

"Violence, abuse and disorder are not tolerated here, and this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated at the World Cup, which is why we are taking this firm approach.

"As with all events of this nature, we are working closely with the host authorities on the safety of British nationals attending and on delivering a successful and enjoyable event."

A travel ban is put in place before every major tournament that involves British teams.

The 2018 World Cup achieved 99 per cent compliance with the requirement for people with football banning orders to surrender their passports.

The number of such orders has been on a consistent downwards trend since the 2011-12 football season.

In the 2020-21 football season, 208 new banning orders were issued, about 38 per cent of the number handed out in 2018-19, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic when stadiums were at full capacity.

Offences that lead to a ban include football-related antisocial behaviour, violence and disorder involving supporters of English and Welsh clubs.

British embassy officials said meetings have taken place with Dubai Police to ensure that fans staying in the UAE during the World Cup were updated with the latest safety guidance.

Meanwhile, fans who want to make the 12-hour drive to the Qatar border with Saudi Arabia were told to take extra precautions.

General advice offered by the British embassy in the UAE includes up-to-date information regarding fan zones, accommodation and things to do in Dubai during the World Cup, as well as local laws on drugs, alcohol and social media use.

An official statement also advised those planning to drive from the UAE to Qatar to plan ahead and ensure they had the correct travel insurance and Covid-19 vaccine requirements.

“You will not be allowed to drive your vehicle across the border from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, so it will have to remain in Saudi Arabia,” it said.

“Travelling by car from the UAE to Qatar is an arduous drive with limited fuel and rest stops.

“You will need to be patient and allow plenty of time for your journey.”

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Updated: October 11, 2022, 5:57 AM
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