More than 1,300 violent English and welsh football fans banned from travelling to World Cup in Qatar


MORE than 1,300 violent and abusive football fans from England and Wales have been banned from travelling to the World Cup in Qatar

Under the measures coming into force on Friday (14 October), the 1,308 people subject to Football Banning Orders will be forced to hand their UK passports over to police.

Then, from November 10 until the end of the tournament, fans who are banned from football in England and Wales, as well as any supporter who has previously caused trouble and is deemed likely to do so again, will be stopped from travelling to Qatar and neighbouring countries to attend the World Cup.

If they fail to do so and attempt to travel to the tournament, they could face six months in prison and an unlimited fine, the Home Office said.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "If they wish to travel to other countries in this period, they will need to seek permission to hold on to their passports and be subject to thorough checks."

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “We are all looking forward to cheering England and Wales on in Qatar and we will not let the behaviour of a minority of lawbreakers tarnish what will be an exciting tournament.

“Violence, abuse and disorder is not tolerated here, and this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated at the World Cup which is why we are taking this firm approach.

“As with all events of this nature, we are working closely with the host authorities on the safety of British Nationals attending and on delivering a successful and enjoyable event.”

Police will also be able to stop previous offenders who are likely to cause trouble again from travelling to the tournament. As part of a targeted operation at ports, if these individuals are caught trying to go to Qatar, they will be intercepted and face a banning order court hearing within 24 hours.

This is part of ongoing work between the UK and the Qatari authorities to support a safe and trouble-free tournament, with UK police offering support and advice on how to engage with fans attending from the UK.

Police officers in the UK and in Qatar will also be gathering intelligence, so any fans seen to be posing a risk could be subject to a Football Banning Order on their return to the UK as well as being arrested and potentially charged for offences in Qatar.

Preventative measures have been put in place for previous international tournaments with the 2018 World Cup receiving 99% compliance with the requirement for FBO holders to surrender their passports.

Statistics published last month showed that there were 1,308 people with Football Banning Orders (FBOs) at the end of the 2021-22 season, including 516 new orders issued.

They also showed that 2,198 arrests were made in the 2021-22 season, 59% higher than in 2018-19 season before the Coronavirus pandemic.

The spokeswoman added: "The Government has taken action over the last year to clamp down on violence at football matches following concerning reports of rising disorder, pitch invasions and abuse of players and staff.

"This has included extending football banning orders to cover online hate crime connected to football, and the Government has committed to extending football banning orders to cover class A drug offences at matches, and ensuring that the women's domestic game is covered by the football banning order regime."