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Subjects of football banning orders to hand over passports ahead of World Cup

30 May 2018 12:00 PM

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As summer approaches more than a hundred people will not be allowed to travel abroad - because they're banned from watching football.
 
In just a few weeks the World Cup kicks off in Russia but the 126 North East football fans subject to banning orders will be stuck at home.
 
The 81 Newcastle United fans and 45 Sunderland fans subject to orders in our region will have to surrender their passports for the duration of the tournament.
 
If they fail to hand over their documentation then the next letter they receive in the post could be a summons to court.

Bad behaviour among fans has fallen in recent years with just four banning orders being handed out last season and a low number of arrests. 

This month Sergeant Chris Blyth, head of Northumbria Police's Football Neighbourhood Policing Team, praised supporters for their good behaviour over the last 10 months.

But he says the passport surrender shows just how big an impact a banning order can have on the minority of people who do act out at the football.
 
He said: "These individuals would have already received a letter from the UK Football Policing Unit informing them of the passport surrender.

"It is one of the consequences of acting inappropriately at a football match and other supporters should take note about the restrictions it can put on your life.

"Getting drunk and getting involved in disorder won't just stop you from being able to follow your team but it could stop you from topping up your tan.

"The vast majority of supporters are very well behaved and earlier this month I was full of praise for the people who have passed through the turnstiles this year.

"I'm proud to say that in recent years our football fans have worked really closely with police and partners and they deserve a huge amount of credit.

"It is just a small minority of people who ruin the experience for other supporters and this passport surrender shows just how big an impact a banning order can have. 

"They can also affect your future career prospects as they may be disclosed to employers through a vetting process or DBS check.

"We will continue to educate younger fans about the consequences of football disorder and take swift action against those who do step out of line."

A large number of those currently subject to an order received them following the Tyne-Wear derby in April 2013.

A number of people were arrested for football-related disorder and are still subject to banning orders more than five years later.
 
Fans can apply for an exemption from the passport surrender if they can prove to the Football Banning Orders Authority (FBOA) that they need to travel abroad.

Following the European Championships in France in 2016, eight fans were summonsed to court for failing to surrender their passports before the deadline.