Record 197 football banning orders handed to fans over incidents at matches in London last season

A record number of football banning orders were handed to fans attending matches in London last season – with most of them barred from travelling to Germany for Euro 2024.

The Metropolitan Police's football policing unit secured 197 orders, applying for 79 in April alone in an attempt to reduce matchday disorder across the capital.

They can exclude supporters from the vicinity of a stadium or town for domestic matches or force them to surrender their passports for European competitions or internationals.

Last week, Arsenal fan Scott Law, 43, was banned from watching football matches in stadiums for three years after he was found guilty of headbutting pundit and former player Roy Keane at the Emirates after the north London club's 3-1 win over Manchester United in September last year.

The Met said the highest ever number of football banning orders included 52 for public order offences, including eight for tragedy chanting and another eight for racially aggravated public order offences, while some 51 three-year orders were handed to fans caught with Class A drugs such as cocaine.

There were also 28 bans for assault and 48 bans for football related offences including throwing missiles onto a pitch, going onto a pitch and flares, according to the force.

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Chief Inspector Pete Dearden, who leads football policing for the Met, said: "This has been a brilliant effort from the football policing unit to secure the banning orders and prevent serious disorder taking place in our communities on matchday.

"The majority of our officers working on football are fans themselves, we understand the passion but want to make sure matches taking place in the capital are safe spaces for everyone attending.

"We know the Euros is going to be a hugely popular tournament for fans travelling from London to watch England hopefully bring football home.

"Our dedicated football officers have worked tirelessly with clubs across the capital to secure the bans for fans who cause disorder at domestic matches, to stop them doing the same abroad."

It comes as Germany is ramping up security ahead of the start of Euro 2024, with England's game against Serbia seen as high risk.

More than 300,000 British fans are expected to travel for the tournament, making it their highest attendance since Euro 2016 in France.

British police, who say there are currently about 2,000 people subject to banning orders, have been sharing intelligence and will send the largest deployment of officers since 2016.