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What are new measures on football tragedy abuse?

31 Jul 2023
Premier League statement graphic

A look at how football authorities are fighting the issue of football tragedy abuse

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The Premier League, along with The FA and EFL have united with supporter groups and law enforcement organisations, including the police and the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, to crack down on the issue of football tragedy abuse.

Here are more details as to what is happening.

What is football tragedy abuse?
It is offensive chanting, gestures or behaviour based on football-related tragedies, such as the Munich air disaster of 1958 involving the Manchester United squad, Heysel, the Bradford stadium fire, the Hillsborough disaster, and the murder of two Leeds United fans in Istanbul.

What are these new measures on football tragedy abuse?
Last season the Premier League, along with The FA, and EFL introduced a package of policy measures, actions and sanctions to tackle dangerous and illegal behaviour by people at football matches and to create a safe and enjoyable matchday environment for everyone.

This included enhanced sanctions applied for people identified as entering the pitch, using pyros, taking drugs to matches, throwing objects or for discriminatory abuse.

On top of these measures tougher new ones have been introduced to fight those who participate in football tragedy abuse.

This vile behaviour causes significant distress to the victims’ families, survivors and affected-club supporters.

People who are found guilty of offences face stadium bans and criminal prosecution.

Hasn’t action already been taken for such activity?
Yes, a 33-year-old was banned from attending a match for four years for wearing a shirt mocking Hillsborough at the FA Cup final while another man got a three-year ban for gestures mocking the 1989 disaster at a Tottenham Hotspur match. These offenders also received further bans from the clubs they supported.

This new action brings about changes in regulation and introduces strong new measures so that people who are found guilty of offences face stadium bans and criminal prosecution.

Are only punitive actions against those found guilty being considered?
A new pilot scheme is in development phase to support the rehabilitation of those identified as having engaged in negative matchday behaviour.

This scheme will refer young people to a restorative justice education programme that will seek to inform and educate them about the impact of their behaviour on others.

It is being run by the Premier League, EFL, Premier League Charitable Fund, EFL Trust, with support from local police forces and will be trialled at 10 clubs across the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two.

The Premier League is also developing education programmes around the impact of football tragedy abuse into its Premier League Inspires and Premier League Primary Stars programmes.

Also in this series

Part 1: Football unites to improve participant and fan behaviour 
Part 2: What is the new charter on participant behaviour?

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