Section 51 – Making of order on conviction of a football-related offence
84.This section sets out the arrangements under which a court may impose a football banning order on an individual convicted of an offence, instead of or in addition to any sentence the court could impose for the offence. The court must be satisfied that the offence involved engaging in violence or disorder as defined in section 56 and that it related to a football match. The court must also be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making the order would help to prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with any football matches.
85.Subsection (5) provides that where a court does not impose a football banning order but is satisfied that the offence involved violence or disorder and related to a football match then the court may declare that to be the case. This declaration will then be recorded.
86.Under subsection (6) an offence will automatically be regarded as related to a football match if it is committed at the match or on the way to or from a football match. As an example, where football fans who are attending different matches engage in violence or disorder with each other on the way to their respective matches the offences would be regarded as being related to a football match. The definition of a football match includes matches on television. For example a person may be watching the match in a pub, wearing football colours, where a fight breaks out in the pub during or after the match.
87.In addition an offence will be regarded as relating to a match if it appears from all the circumstances that the offence was motivated wholly or partly by a football match. In other words, the court will need to find some link between the behaviour and a football match. This could include, for example, where groups of rival supporters do not go to a football match but instead meet at a different place for a pre-arranged fight.