House of Commons - Explanatory Note
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Session 1999-2000
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Football (Disorder) Bill


These notes refer to the Football (Disorder) Bill
as introduced in the House of Commons on 13th July 2000 [Bill 160]

Football (Disorder) Bill



1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Football (Disorder) Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 13 July 2000. They have been prepared by the Home Office in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     These notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.


3.     In the light of persistent episodes of disorder involving English football supporters during the European Championship Finals in Belgium and the Netherlands in June 2000, this Bill proposes further measures to combat football hooliganism. The present law is contained in the Public Order Act 1986 (domestic football banning orders) and Football Spectators Act 1989 (international football banning orders). Both Acts were amended by the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999.


4.     The Bill proposes four main measures:

  • combining domestic and international football banning orders;

  • enabling a magistrates' court to impose a banning order where such an order would help to prevent violence or disorder at, or in connection with, certain football matches;

  • making passport withdrawal mandatory in respect of the new combined banning order, unless there are exceptional circumstances, in connection with certain football matches played outside the United Kingdom; and

  • enabling a constable (in certain circumstances) to require a person before him to appear before a magistrates' court within 24 hours to answer a complaint for the making of a banning order, and to prevent that person from leaving England and Wales in the meantime.


Clause 1: Football Matches: Prevention of Violence or Disorder

5.     Clause 1 introduces the three Schedules to the Bill. The most important of these is Schedule 1, which makes substantial amendments to the Football Spectators Act 1989.

Clause 2: Disclosure of Information

6.     This clause amends section 2 of the Police Act 1997 (functions of the National Criminal Intelligence Service) to enable NCIS to disclose information for the purposes of the Football Spectators Act 1989 to third parties prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.

Clause 3: Supplementary and Consequential Provision

7.     This clause enables the Secretary of State to make supplementary and consequential provisions necessary to meet the purposes of the Bill by order.

Clause 5: Commencement and Duration

8.     This brings clause 1 of the Bill into force on a day appointed by the Secretary of State, and provides that the powers to make banning orders on complaint (section 14B), to detain people for enquiries about their involvement in violence or disorder (section 21A), or to issue notices requiring people to attend the magistrates' court and preventing them from leaving England and Wales (section 21B) shall expire one year after the Act comes into force unless Parliament renews them by an affirmative resolution. It further provides that these powers shall in any case expire five years after they come into force.

Schedule 1

9.     Schedule 1 amends the Football Spectators Act 1989 and in particular inserts the following provisions into that Act:

Banning Orders

10.     Section 14 provides definitions of "Regulated Football Matches", i.e. matches to which the measures proposed in the Bill are relevant; "banning order"; and the "control period", i.e. the period of five days before a regulated football match played outside England and Wales.

11.     Section 14A sets out the arrangements under which a court may impose a banning order on an individual convicted of a football related offence as defined in the Schedule of Relevant Offences.

12.     Section 14B empowers the police to apply to a magistrates' court by complaint for the imposition of a banning order on an individual. The court must make such an order if it is shown that the person has previously caused or contributed to any violence or disorder in the UK or elsewhere (not necessarily associated with football) and if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that a banning order would help prevent football related violence or disorder in England and Wales or elsewhere. The court may take into account evidence from before the date when the Act comes into force.

13.      Section 14C defines "violence" and provides examples of behaviour constituting "disorder". It also sets out matters which the court may take into account in deciding whether or not to impose a banning order. This includes overseas court, tribunal or public authority decisions; deportation or exclusion from a country outside the UK; removal or exclusion from football grounds in England and Wales or elsewhere; and conduct recorded on video or other means.

14.      Section 14D sets out the appeals procedure in respect of banning orders imposed on persons made subject to an order made on an application under section 14B.

15.     Section 14E makes reporting to a specific police station and (unless there are exceptional circumstances) surrender of passport mandatory conditions of a banning order. These conditions will apply on the occasions when the individual is required by the enforcing authority under the Act (the Football Banning Orders Authority) to report to a police station during the control periods associated with regulated matches played outside the UK.

16.     Section 14F sets out the minimum and maximum period of a banning order made as a result of a conviction leading to imprisonment for a football related offence (between 6 and 10 years), an order made as a result of a conviction for such an offence for which imprisonment was not imposed (between 3 and 5 years), and an order made other than on conviction of a football related offence (between 2 and 3 years).

17.     Section 14G confers a discretionary power on the court to impose additional requirements when imposing a banning order.

18.     Section 14H sets out the arrangements for seeking termination of an order.

19.     Section 14J sets out the penalty for breach of any requirement of or under an order.

Football Banning Orders Authority

20.     Section 19 sets out the role and functions of the enforcing authority which is responsible for notifying persons subject to banning orders of the occasions when they are required to report to a police station and to comply with any requirements of the order.

Summary Measures

21.     Section 21A empowers a police constable in uniform, during any control period, to detain any person whose behaviour suggests that he may have caused or contributed to violence and disorder at any time in the past, while enquiries are made to establish whether that is the case. The period of detention shall last only until a decision has been made as to whether a notice under section 21B should be issued, and may not be longer than 24 hours.

22.     Section 21B empowers a constable in uniform, during a control period, to issue a notice to any person who appears to him to have caused or contributed to any violence or disorder at any time in the past. The effect of the notice is to require that person to appear at a magistrates' court at a time specified in the notice, not to leave England and Wales before that time, and to surrender his passport (unless the control period in force relates to a game in Scotland or Northern Ireland). The notice must give the officer's reasons for believing that the person has caused or contributed to violence or disorder. The time specified for the appearance before the magistrates' court must be within 24 hours of the issue of the notice, or, if the person has previously been detained, within 24 hours of the start of his period of detention. The notice will be treated by the magistrates' court as an application for a banning order on the person concerned. A person issued with such a notice may be arrested if a constable reasonably believes this to be necessary to secure his compliance with the order.

23.     Section 21C provides that the powers set out in sections 21A and 21B may only be exercised in relation to British citizens, sets out the maximum penalty for failure to comply with a notice preventing departure from England and Wales (six months imprisonment), and empowers the court to remand the person concerned or to impose bail conditions which include a prohibition on leaving England and Wales.

Relevant (football related) Offences

24.     Schedule 1 to the Football Spectators Act 1989 is amended by adding to the existing list of football related offences:

  • offences involving the possession and/or misuse of flares or fireworks at football matches

  • offences involving the use, carrying or possession of an offensive weapon or a firearm; and

  • offences of breach of a banning order or police notice.

Schedule 2

25.     Schedule 2 makes minor and consequential amendments to other legislation.

Schedule 3

26.     Schedule 3 contains consequential repeals.


27.     The Bill places additional burdens on the enforcing agency (the Football Banning Orders Authority). These are expected to amount to £75,000 per annum. Additional magistrates' court costs will arise from the requirement for a magistrates' court to consider a police notice preventing an individual from departing from England and Wales within 24 hours of the time of the notice. This could require magistrates' courts to convene at weekends to consider notices issued on Fridays and Saturdays. There are also likely to be additional costs for magistrates' courts arising from the expected increase in the number of Banning Order applications. It is estimated that these additional costs will amount to £150,000 per annum.


28.     The Bill imposes no additional public sector manpower requirements.


29.     The Bill imposes no regulatory burdens.


30.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Secretary of State for the Home Department has made the following statement:

    In my view the provisions of the Football (Disorder) Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

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Prepared: 13 July 2000