A dozen Saints fans banned from football after invading pitch

Fan arrested after pitch invasion at St Mary's.
Fan arrested after pitch invasion at St Mary's.

MORE than a dozen Saints fans were banned from football by the end of last season, new figures show.

This comes as the club said it may have to build a wall between home and away fans in the stadium.

More safety measures have been proposed, such as more stewards and fewer fans in some areas, after a rise in missile-throwing and other anti-social behaviour.

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There were 18 football banning orders in force for Southampton fans at the season's end, according to Home Office figures.

Of these, seven were issued during the 2021-22 season.

Three were given a three-year banning order for invading the pitch during an FA match at St Mary's.

As reported by the Echo, three Southampton men were "overcome with excitement and euphoria" when the team scored against West Ham and ran into the pitch, halting the game.

The banning orders are given for football-related crimes and offences committed in a stadium or travelling to or from a game.

Fans issued with a banning order cannot go to any football match within the UK and must surrender their passport when a national game is played outside of the country.

The Home Office statistics also show that there were 29 football-related arrests of Southampton fans last season, the most since the figures began in the 2014/15 season.

The most common offence last season was pitch incursion, for which there were 11 arrests.

“Disorder is a problem that has not gone away," said Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for football policing.

"Throughout the whole of last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country, from the Premier League right down to the National League.

“Following constructive talks with the Premier League, EFL and FA we are keen to support our partners in delivering their proposals, including the introduction of stadium bans for people who enter the pitch, as well as those who use pyrotechnics.

“The statistics released today show a worrying rise in these crimes, which are both extremely dangerous for players, staff and fellow fans alike.”

Home Office Minister Jeremy Quin added that it is "unacceptable" that games are tarnished by "selfish troublemakers".

He said: “Our football clubs are at the heart of our communities, and it is unacceptable that the game we all love is tarnished by a minority of selfish troublemakers."

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