Monday 26 September 2016

Over 1,800 banned English fans must attend police stations ahead of Ireland friendly

Damian Spellman

Published 26/05/2015 | 15:53

The friendly, the first meeting in Ireland between the sides since visiting hooligans caused chaos at Lansdowne Road in 1995, will take place at Sunday lunchtime following discussions between the associations, broadcasters and the gardai.
The friendly, the first meeting in Ireland between the sides since visiting hooligans caused chaos at Lansdowne Road in 1995, will take place at Sunday lunchtime following discussions between the associations, broadcasters and the gardai.
English fans riot at Lansdowne Road in 1995
15 February 1995; A young child is carried to safety after rioting broke out in the Upper West Stand forcing the abandonment of the game. International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v England, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
15 February 1995; An England fan is restrained by Gardai after rioting in the West Stand forced the abandonment of the game. International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v England, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Police are to clamp down on known troublemakers in a bid to head off problems at England's friendly clash with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin next month.

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The two nations meet in the city on June 7, the first time they have done so since rioting England supporters forced the abandonment of a friendly in February 1995.

Acquaintances were renewed in May 2013 when Ireland travelled to Wembley for a 1-1 friendly draw, a game which passed without incident.

However, after witnessing a deterioration in behaviour among travelling supporters at England's last four away games, police are to enforce football banning orders for the game at the Aviva Stadium.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs' Council Lead on football policing, said: "It has been a point of pride in recent years that England fans' behaviour has completely moved on from the dark days of the 1980s.

"We have been able to tell overseas police colleagues that they will not encounter the sort of problems that used to be associated with England fans.

"While the majority of fans continue to behave themselves, in the last four England away fixtures, we have seen a significant amount of drunken anti-social behaviour, unpleasant chanting aimed at provoking home supporters, and a small number of people who seem to take every opportunity to create distress for others.

"Regrettably, that means we have to increase our enforcement activity using tactics that proved successful in addressing these problems in the past."

Fans subject to banning orders are already have to surrender their passports and for the first time in four years, will also be required to attend nominated police stations and confirm attendance with a signature.

Those who fail to comply will be rounded up by police in a national operation.

ACC Roberts said: "Given the deterioration in fan behaviour and the proximity of Dublin, I have reintroduced the requirement to sign on at a police station as well as to surrender passports.

"We will be running a national operation to round up those who fail to comply before and immediately after the fixture.

"To make triply sure of compliance, these measures will be supplemented with all official England Supporters Travelling Club members being required to collect their tickets in person in Dublin with photo ID.

"I am in regular contact with the FA and other partners in the football community and, while there is no specific intelligence as yet to suggest planned disorder, there is sufficient concern to take proactive action to ensure that fans are clear that bad behaviour is not acceptable and will face serious sanctions.

"Football policing 'spotters' from England will also be present in Dublin and the Aviva Stadium to gather evidence of any bad behaviour and ensure anyone who offends faces the consequences of their actions. We are working closely with An Garda Siochana to support their operation."

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