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Pyrotechnics illegal at football grounds

6 December 2013

Pyrotechnics and football

Pyrotechnics are illegal at football grounds
Being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match, or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985. Any person committing such an offence faces arrest and can expect the Court to make a Football Banning Order.

The 2012/13 season saw a record number arrested for pyrotechnics
There were 71 arrests for ‘Possession of a Firework / Flare at a Sporting Event’. This was an increase of 154% on arrests recorded for the 2011/12 season (28). These arrests have occurred at more matches in the Premier League (26) and Championship (21) than in League 1 and League 2 which saw less than five arrests each. 

People are getting jailed and banned
• In November 2013 a Manchester United fan that set off a smoke bomb during their clash with West Bromwich Albion - Sir Alex Ferguson's last game in charge – was given a two month jail term (suspended for 12 months) and banned from any football grounds for three years.
• In February 2013 two Chelsea fans were jailed for 28 days and given six year football banning orders for taking smoke bombs into the Liberty Stadium for a match versus Swansea City. Their appeal for the sentence was thrown out.
• In January 2013 an 18 year old Exeter City fan was jailed for two months and given a six year banning order for attempting to take a smoke bomb into Torquay United v Exeter City. 
• In August 2012 an Oxford United fan was jailed for two months and given a six year banning order for taking a smoke bomb into Home Park for a match versus Plymouth Argyle. 

Incidents nearly always involved the away supporters
Of the 172 reported pyrotechnic incidents in the 2012/13 season, 164 were committed by away supporters. 

They are used by younger fans
The average age of supporters arrested for pyrotechnic use is 20. Little disorder was reported as a direct result of their use.

To help better inform fans who are not aware, clubs throughout the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference will be supporting a new campaign on the dangers on pyrotechnics by running adverts in their grounds and on club media like programmes and websites. 

The campaign, which features posters parodying football chants, also has an online presence There are real-life examples of how pyrotechnics are not, as pyro users attest, ‘innocent fun’, but can have serious repercussions.

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