Sunday 8 December 2019

Six Southampton supporters given banning orders after Arnhem violence

Six Southampton fans have been issued with banning orders
Six Southampton fans have been issued with banning orders

Six Southampton supporters have been given banning orders for their part in violence when the team played a Europa League tie in Arnhem earlier this season.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applied for the orders at Southampton Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after the disorder broke out following the match against Vitesse in Holland last August.

A CPS spokesman said: "Prior to the match there was a large gathering of followers of both teams in the Korenmarkt area of Arnhem. The atmosphere had initially been good-natured between the two sets of opposing supporters.

"However, a large group of Vitesse Arnhem supporters then entered the square and fighting broke out between them and Southampton's supporters.

"When the police moved in to prevent the disorder, the violence continued, with chairs from nearby bars thrown at police officers and opposing followers. The violence involved hundreds of individuals and lasted for a period of approximately 10 minutes and it was not until riot police and officers on horseback moved in that order was restored."

James Whitlock, 23, was given a three-year banning order for punching an opposing supporter in the face and throwing a bar stool, while 28-year-old Richard Bridle was banned for four years for also punching a rival fan in the face and abusing police officers.

Jack Jameson, 21, was banned for four years for being at the front of fans confronting police and 20-year-old Luke Fairhurst was banned for three years after he was seen on footage to be throwing chairs and tables at opposing supporters.

Samuel Coleman, 23, was banned for three years for throwing chairs at opposing supporters and 22-year-old Thomas Kitcher was banned for three years for throwing chairs and tables at opposing supporters.

Gavin Sumpter, of the CPS, said: "The violence at the hands of a minority of so-called fans in Arnhem brought the good name of Southampton Football Club and the United Kingdom into disrepute. It tainted what should have been a celebratory occasion as it was the club's first European away fixture in 32 years.

"We hope that these bans will act as a deterrent to like-minded individuals. They should think twice before behaving this way in future.

"We will continue to use the legislation at our disposal to ensure that decent law-abiding football fans can continue to enjoy football in a safe and secure environment in the run-up to Euro 2016 and beyond."

The banning orders will prevent the individuals concerned from attending matches in England and Wales, with other restrictions on their movements during match times including surrendering their passports at the time of international fixtures.

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