Skip to the content

The legality and effectiveness of using Football Banning Orders in the fight against racism and violence at sports events

James, MD and Pearson, G 2009, 'The legality and effectiveness of using Football Banning Orders in the fight against racism and violence at sports events' , in: EU, sport, law and policy: regulation, re-regulation and representation , TMC Asser Press / Cambridge University Press, pp. 535-554.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB)


Paragraph 2.6 of the European Commission’s White Paper on Sport, entitled ‘Strengthening the prevention of and fight against racism and violence’, seeks to promote multi-party discussions on the issue of disorder and anti-social behaviour at European sports events. This paragraph’s proposals include taking action to: (19) Promote, in accordance with national and EU rules applicable, the exchange of operational information and practical know-how and experience on the prevention of violent and racist incidents between law enforcement services and with sport organisations. (20) Analyse possibilities for new legal instruments and other EU-wide standards to prevent public disorder at sport events. (21) Promote a multidisciplinary approach to preventing anti-social behaviour, with a special focus given to socio-educational actions such as fan-coaching (long-term work with supporters to develop a positive and non-violent attitude). (22) Strengthen regular and structured cooperation among law enforcement services, sport organisations and other stakeholders. By phrasing the proposals so widely, the Commission has left open to itself many possible means by which its primary aim can be achieved. The perceived need for such cooperation and the possibility of specific legal instruments being introduced to control spectator disorder, particularly at football matches, stems from the number of very high profile incidents of violence and racism that continue to affect European sport. The United Kingdom has over 20 years of legislative experience in this field and provides a useful case study for how best to develop strategies to combat violence, disorder and racism amongst spectators. Against the backdrop of an ever-growing debate about the competence of the European Community to legislate in areas relating to criminal law, this paper will analyse the legislative measures that have been introduced by various UK governments since the Heysel Disaster in 1985 to combat a very specific form of spectator disorder; ‘football hooliganism’. It will focus on the use of the Football Banning Order as a mechanism for controlling the movement of both convicted and suspected football hooligans and will review the English experience of controlling and regulating spectator disorder at football matches by critically analysing the legality and effectiveness of the measures currently in place. The aim is to show that the UK’s response has had little quantifiable effect on football-related disorder when it occurs overseas, and is of questionable legality in the European context. These conclusions are based on ongoing ethnographic research, court observations and both qualitative and quantitative data from the Home Office, and will challenge the received wisdom that Football Banning Orders are a panacea that ‘cures the English disease’. It will be proposed that before implementing EU-wide legal instruments of this kind a number of ‘least restrictive alternatives’ must be considered.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Parrish, R, Siekman, R and Gardiner, S
Additional Information: Chapter 28 within book.
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Subjects / Themes > K Law > K Law (General)
Subjects / Themes > G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0557 Sports
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Strategy, People Management & Salford Law
Publisher: TMC Asser Press / Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9789067042925
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2009 09:36
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2015 18:01

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year