EPL fans to get ban for invasions, smoke bombs

LONDON - Supporters of English Premier League teams who take part in anti-social and criminal behaviour at stadiums will receive automatic club bans with a minimum term of one year, the league said on Wednesday after unanimously agreeing to the move.

Last season, there was an increase in the number of pitch invasions at the end of the campaign as fans celebrated titles, promotion or survival, with several altercations taking place including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira.

Smoke bombs and pyrotechnics, which have long been used at games in continental Europe and elsewhere in the world, used to be relatively rare in England but their use has become a more regular occurrence.

"Fans caught carrying or activating pyrotechnics or smoke bombs, or entering the pitch without permission, will receive an automatic club ban with a minimum term of one year," the league said after its shareholders' meeting.

"These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in such activities.

"This policy is effective immediately and the ban is applicable to both home and away matches."

In July, the Premier League and English Football League said tough sanctions would be in place for pitch invasions and the use of smoke bombs and pyrotechnics from the 2022-23 season.

The leagues and the Football Association added: "All identified offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which may affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence."

Vieira lashed out at an Everton supporter after being goaded by home fans, who ran onto the pitch following their side's victory at Goodison Park last term.

There were also ugly scenes when fans swarmed the pitch after Nottingham Forest's Championship play-off semi-final win against Sheffield United in May.

Blades striker Billy Sharp was headbutted by a Forest fan, who was subsequently jailed for 24 weeks and given a 10-year football banning order.

A Leicester City fan also ran onto the pitch and tried to punch Forest players during an FA Cup tie in February.

AFP, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2022, with the headline EPL fans to get ban for invasions, smoke bombs. Subscribe