The FA, the Premier League and the EFL are together introducing new measures and stronger sanctions across the game to tackle the increased anti-social and criminal behaviours recently seen within grounds and underline the importance of a safe matchday environment.
The new set of actions will be implemented across all English football leagues from the start of the 2022/23 season. They’re backed by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and will target activity such as entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics and throwing objects - as well as drug use and discriminatory behaviour.
From the start of season 2022/23, 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. The FA will also be enforcing a tougher charging and sanctioning policy for clubs, which will reinforce these measures.
Furthermore, anyone who enters the pitch and those identified carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs will now receive an automatic club ban. These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in these activities. The safety of everyone attending a matchday is the game’s collective priority.
The FA know the behaviours carried out by some fans last season do not represent the majority of supporters and they risk ruining the fantastic experience of a football match for everyone. Therefore, they are working with clubs to highlight the important role that fans, clubs, players and coaches all have to play in helping to create a safe environment.
FA Chief Executive, Mark Bullingham, highlighted that these acts are dangerous, illegal and have severe consequences: "We all know about the fantastic and unique role that football can play in bringing communities together. However, the rise in anti-social behaviour that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was entirely unacceptable and put people’s safety at risk.”
“Football stadiums must be a safe, inclusive and enjoyable environment for all, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the game, including governing bodies, clubs, players, coaches, and fans, to ensure that we all play our part in protecting our game and each other."
FSA Chief Executive, Kevin Miles, said: "We are contacted by supporters on a fairly regular basis who have been caught jumping on the pitch, or with pyro in the stands, and without exception they regret doing it. Whether they had positive intentions or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the law - pyro and pitch incursions are illegal, you will be prosecuted and you will be banned by your club."
Find out more about these new measures on The FA's website. Information on grassroots football can also be found in the menus above, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.