English fans barred from travelling to Dublin soccer match

Those banned must surrender passports and sign in at police stations on match day

 

Thirteen hundred English football fans have been banned by the British authorities from travelling to Dublin for next month’s international match against the Republic of Ireland.

Echoing the lessons from the infamous 1995 rioting by English fans in Lansdowne Road, authorities have issued so-called football banning orders against individuals who have previously caused trouble at football grounds.

Banned individuals will have to surrender their passports. Because Ireland and the UK share a Common Travel Area, they must also sign on at a nominated British police station on the June 7th match day to ensure that they do not travel without them.

The tough police action follows on from trouble at England’s last four away games, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on football policing, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts declared.

“We have seen a significant amount of drunken anti-social behaviour, unpleasant chanting aimed at provoking home supporters and a small number of people who seem to take every opportunity to create distress for others,” he declared.

Twenty people were injured in the February 15th, 1995, Ireland v England friendly, after members of a neo-Nazi group, Combat 18, started ripping up seats in the upper tier of one of the Lansdowne stands, before they were quelled by gardaí.

The recent deterioration in behaviour by a small section of England’s fans “regrettably” means that British police have had to step up actions, using previously-successful curbs.

“Given the deterioration in fan behaviour and the proximity of Dublin, I have reintroduced the requirement to sign on at a police station as well as to surrender passports,” Assistant Chief Constable Roberts declared.

“We will be running a national operation to round up those who fail to comply before and immediately after the fixture. To make triply sure of compliance, these measures will be supplemented with all official England Supporters Travelling Club members being required to collect their tickets in person in Dublin with photo ID,” he went on.

British police “spotters” will be in the Aviva stadium to identify English trouble-makers that may slip through security for the 1pm kick-off, though they will not have powers of arrest.

However, they will be able to alert their Irish counterparts, while they will also be able to gather intelligence that can be used to justify football banning orders for later games.

People issued with banning orders must surrender their passport to police on June 2nd or 3rd. It will be returned after the match on June 7. Meanwhile, they will have to sign on at a local police station between 10am and 1pm on match day.

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