Posted by John Beech on September 10, 2011
The banning of a fan, whether by a club or by a court, is a contentious issue. SjMaskell has an interesting and thought-provoking posting up on just how easy it could be to find yourself banned under Section 14 (B) of the Football (Disorder) Act, without ever being charged, let alone convicted. I wonder how often that is used in comparison to bannings under Section 14 (A) – those which follow from a conviction. I wonder too how many fans realise they can be banned without ever having been convicted of an offence.
Banning is not a topic that I have frequently blogged on. In fact the only previous occasion was when I compared the Crawley Town lifetime ban, imposed on an idiot who they claimed wasn’t one of their fans in spite of the fact that he appeared as one of their own on their official website, with the Stevenage Town fan who received a six-year ban for assaulting one of his team’s players on the pitch. I thought at the time that, notwithstanding the fact that nothing could be said in way of mitigation of the ‘Crawley Town’ fan’s inept behaviour, a life-time ban seemed inappropriately harsh for inept but offensive behaviour, especially when compared to the act of punching a player on the pitch, and I don’t feel any differently now.
Does anyone have any data sets on banning orders? This topic seems worthy of further research and analysis.
In the meantime, steady as you go when engaging in banter with fans you don’t know – you never whether they have ‘history’. Should you find yourself being unfairly treated, the people to contact are the Football Supporters’ Federation, who can offer a range of advice and active support.