A Football Banning Order (FBO) is a civil order, often imposed following a conviction for a ‘football related’ offence. They are designed to prevent football fans from becoming involved in acts of violence or disorder, hoolignism and hate crime. This also extends to online racism and abuse.
The order can impose a number of restrictions, for example preventing a person from going to a specific area or within a specified distance of a football match, or travelling on public transport. The length and terms of the order will depend on the type of conviction and sentence passed.
The Football Spectators Act 1989 stated that the Court must impose a Football Banning Order unless there are exceptional reasons not to. Nicholls & Nicholls have successfully argued that there are such exceptional reasons on a number of occasions. New legislation, however, has changed this standardl. Section 192 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 now states that the court must impose a FBO unless it “considers that there are particular circumstances relating to the offence or to the offender which would make it unjust in all the circumstances to do so.”
If you are already subject to such an order, you can apply for the terms to be varied if they are particularly excessive, or to have the order terminated if you can show reasons for the request. The restrictions and length of the order tend to be based on the gravity of the initial offence if it follows a criminal conviction. Stand alone orders however, are more likely to have a level of flexibility and negotiation when it comes to variation and termination. The minimum length of time for an order to be imposed is 3 years, although this may change depending on the type of order made.
If an application is made to the Court for an order of this kind, a significant amount of evidence can be used that may not be evidence that has been proven in a Court. Circumstantial and hearsay evidence can form a lot of the paperwork against you. This is because the admission of evidence in these types of applications are civil by nature. Evidence from abroad, CCTV in football matches and evidence showing removal from matches can all be used. It is regular to find that CCTV is used to show links with known football ‘hooligans’ on match days and for that to be provided as a bundle of evidence in cases like these.
There is a dedicated team with the police called the UK Football Policing Unit who support and assist in the application and removal of these orders.
Breaching this type of order is imprisonable so it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Nicholls & Nicholls can offer expert advice and representation in relation to an alleged breach.
Book a Consultation
Get in touch with us for a fixed fee consultation.