The Premier League are set to crack down hard on any fans that engage in anti-social behaviour inside football stadiums, with automatic bans prepped for offenders.
The return of football fans following the pandemic has been refreshing to say the least, but there has been a noticeable rise in pitch invasions and the use of pyrotechnics in recent years. Of course, these aren't new revelations by any means, but unfortunately last season things got out of hand on a number of occasions.
Billy Sharp was assaulted by a Nottingham Forest fan during a pitch invasion after Sheffield United were beaten at the City Ground last season, and pryo and smoke bombs were present in multiple Premier League crowds during the last campaign also. But the Premier League will no longer stand for such behaviour, and bans of at least one year will now be enforced accordingly.
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The 20 Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to introduce the punishments in order to tackle criminal activity within stadiums, and the new policy will begin with immediate effect. Both home and away fans will be subject to the new measures, which have been brought in to deter any disruption with the threat of a lengthy ban.
The Premier League released a statement after a Shareholders' meeting was carried out to discuss the matter while players departed for the international break. The statement read: "At a Premier League Shareholders' Meeting today, clubs unanimously agreed to introduce minimum-length bans for supporters who take part in anti-social and criminal behaviours at League stadiums.
"Fans caught carrying or activating pyrotechnics or smoke bombs, or entering the pitch without permission, will receive an automatic club ban with a minimum term of one year. These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in such activities.
"This policy is effective immediately and the ban is applicable to both home and away matches." The use of smoke bombs has also had an impact on some Premier League footballers, with new Tottenham signing Richarlison being punished for his antics while still at Everton.
The Brazilian engaged with the crowd by picking up a blue flare and celebrating at Goodison Park, but was suspended as a result. This meant that Richarlison was unavailable for Tottenham's Premier League opener against Southampton this season.
But the clamp down will aim to boost player and fan safety at grounds, while keeping all trouble to a minimum. Those who don't follow the rules will be banned from attending games for a specified period, and the first game that this will be enforced is the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham on October 1.
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