Will Any Conditions Be Attached to a Football Banning Order?
A Football Banning Order is a vital tool for the courts and the police in combatting the problem of football hooliganism and violence. An advantage of Football Banning Orders as far as the police are concerned is the flexibility they offer: these orders can have various conditions attached which the individual must comply with.
These are usually stringent conditions which often impact on the individual’s freedom of movement. However, the courts consider that certain conditions are necessary for the purposes of the prevention of football related violence and disorder, and they are under a legal duty to impose a Football Banning Order in the case of serious offences. That said, being civil orders, any conditions should be preventative and not punitive.
If the court decides it must impose a Football Banning Order on you, it will consider all the circumstances of your particular case in deciding what appropriate conditions should be attached. The most common condition of any order is prohibiting the individual from attending regulated football matches both at home and abroad for the length of the order.
What is a ‘regulated football match’?
The law defines a regulated football match as:
“an association football match in which one or both of the participating teams represent a club which is for the time being a member (whether a full or associate member) of the Football League, the Football Association Premier League, the Football Conference or the League of Wales, or represents a country or territory”.
What other conditions could be imposed?
Various other conditions may be set out in the Order on a ‘schedule’. However, the court must explain the effects on you of the conditions it intends to impose – in plain language. Also, the court must consider whether or not the conditions it is thinking about imposing are proportionate to the offences or disorder involved. Given that they are civil orders and not criminal penalties, they should be considered on a case by case basis and reflect the individual risks posed by the individual concerned.
Courts often have a set of standard conditions that they impose whenever they make a Football Banning Order. The risk, here, is that they may be unnecessarily draconian, but the expert defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors are experienced in ensuring that – if a ban cannot be avoided – the terms are acceptable.
Common conditions attached to Football Banning Orders include:
Surrendering your passport
You will most likely be ordered to give up your passport at your local police station (even if the offence you are charged with/convicted of did not relate to an international game) during what is called a ‘control period’. This control period is a period of 5 days before an international tournament up to when it ends. However, if there are exceptional circumstances, for instance, you need to travel abroad on business, this condition may not be imposed.
You could be prohibited from going to specific areas or properties for a certain time, for instance, for a period starting 2 hours before a match up to 2 hours after the match ends. This, for example, could be a named public house, or going on public transport without the authority of the British Transport Police.
You could also be restricted from going within a given radius of a regulated football match; and you could even be banned from going to an entire town or city itself during a specific period of time.
You are likely to be required to report to your local police station within five days of the making of the Order – and in some cases to report the police station during control periods. When initially reporting to the police station, you will be photographed and you will be required to notify the police of any changes to your name or address.
What if I breach a condition of a Football Banning Order?
If you breach any condition attached to a Football Banning Order, you will be at risk of a prison sentence. Breaching any conditions will be a criminal offence, and you can be tried in the Magistrates’ Court.
On conviction, you could be sentenced to a prison term of up to 6 months, and/or a Level 5 fine. If you have breached the condition of an Order, we can represent you and put forward mitigating factors with a view to ensuring you have as lenient a punishment as possible.
What should I do?
If you have been accused of a football related offence, or you have breached the terms of a Football Banning Order, it is vital to take urgent legal advice as soon as possible. The expert football banning orders lawyers at Qamar Solicitors have successfully defended many clients who have been charged with football related offences, and helped numerous clients resist the making of a Football Banning Order, or facing penalties for breach an Order.
Contact us for specialist help; and we can tell you if you qualify for legal aid.
Contact our specialist football banning order solicitors on 01484 444 575