Football fans acquitted of selling or taking class A drugs such as cocaine at games could face five-year prohibition, the government has declared, in a bid to tackle rising violence and disruption.
The new rules, declared on Thursday by the policing minister, Kit Malthouse, could also see anyone acquitted ordered to surrender their passports when their team is playing abroad.
Boris Johnson asserted the drug habits of ‘middle-class cokeheads’ are boosting crime across the UK, further saying, “Their habit is feeding a war on our streets driving misery and crime across our country and beyond.”
“That’s why we are stepping up our efforts to make sure those who break the law face the full consequences – because taking illegal drugs is never a victimless crime.”
The step is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council amidst concerns that drug abuse is powering the increase in violence and disorder at games.
Statistics released by the UK football policing unit (UKFPU) in January revealed a surge in arrests of 47% on the same period in the 2019-20 season, and a 36% augment in reports of disorder at games.
Almost a year ago, thousands of people without tickets tried to enter Wembley Stadium to watch England versus Italy in the Euro 2020 final, and tens of thousands more created havocs of unlawful disorder on Olympic Way.
As per bystanders, ample consumption of alcohol and cocaine was readily apparent.
Malthouse stated some football matches have seen shocking “ugly violence”. He said, “It’s been a thrilling football season, but at some games we’ve seen ugly violence that that has shocked all the leagues”.
“More and more the police are finding class A drugs at the heart of that disorder, and so we must act. The football family wants every ground to be a safe space for fans, especially children, and so do we.”
He further said, “that such bans have been successful in the past.”
“Football banning orders have been a gamechanger in rooting out racism and violence at football, and now we want them to do the same for drug-related disorder,” he said.
“The government is determined to drive down drug use and bring home to all who take them that drugs bring consequences.”