Football riots in England and Wales hit eight-year high – Home Office

Arrests and incidents of disorder at football matches in England and Wales last season were at their highest level for eight years.

There were 2,198 football-related arrests, the highest number since the 2013-14 season, according to Home Office figures.

Capacity crowds returned in the 2021-22 campaign following Covid-19 restrictions.

Last season’s turmoil was followed by pitch invasions as players approached.

A fan has been jailed after running onto the pitch and headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp at the end of Nottingham Forest’s play-off game against the Blades.

A Manchester City fan who ran onto the pitch and taunted Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen on the final day of the season at the Etihad Stadium has been handed a four-year football ban.

More reported incidents and more arrests – statistics

  • There were incidents in more than half of all games (53%) – 1,609 of the 3,019 games played.
  • In 2018-19 – the last full season before the Covid-19 restrictions – there were incidents in 1,007 matches, equivalent to a third of the matches played.
  • This means that reported incidents rose by 60% last season compared to 2018-19
  • There were 441 pitch invasions last season – up 127% on 2018-19.
  • Football-related arrests rose by 59% – a record high of 2,273 in 2013-14.
  • 516 new banning orders were issued
  • The most reported types of incidents were pyrotechnics (729 matches occurred, reported incidents), missile firing (561) and public order or anti-social behavior by youth (444).

It follows recent comments from England internationals Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, who both say there is a problem with fan behavior in football.

Tottenham’s Dier says he feels “too comfortable” for his family to go to away games, while Liverpool captain Henderson says his family’s experiences “may put him off going to future games”.

More to follow.