The English Premier League and Football League announced tough new penalties for storming stadiums and the use of smoke bombs and fireworks.
Last season saw an increasing number of pitch invasions towards the end of the season with fans celebrating titles, promotion or survival.
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Several fights took place on the field, including one between Crystal Palace coach Patrick Vieira, while Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was attacked by a fan after the play-off defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Smoke bombs and fireworks, long used in games in continental Europe and elsewhere in the world, were relatively rare in England but their use is becoming more regular.
The leagues and the Football Association said that from the start of the new season “all offenders identified by clubs will be reported to the police and the prosecution could lead to a permanent criminal record, which could affect their employment and education, and could lead to a prison sentence.”
The statement read: “Furthermore, anyone entering the stadium and those identified carrying or using fireworks or smoke bombs will now receive an automatic club ban. This ban can also be extended to parents or guardians accompanying children who participate in the these activities.”
The agencies said they were working with police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that a trial “will become the default response”.
The unions are also seeking to censor videos showing stadium invasions and smoke bombs by working with social media companies to quickly remove the footage while asking the government to reform regulations to restrict the supply of fireworks and smoke bombs.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “The rise in anti-social behavior that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was completely unacceptable and puts people’s safety at risk. Together, English football has introduced new measures and stronger penalties, for the start of next season, to send a clear message. that we will not tolerate this kind of illegal and dangerous behavior.”
This move is supported by the Football Supporters Association (FSA).
“We are contacted fairly regularly by fans who have been caught jumping on the pitch or with Bayero in the stands, and without exception they regret it,” said Kevin Miles, head of the Free Syrian Army.
“Whether they have positive intentions or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the law – pitch and pitch incursions are illegal, you will be sued and you will be banned by your club.”