§ Mrs. Margaret Beckett (Derby, South)
I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of several thousand supporters of Derby county and members of the Football Supporters Association. I believe that I am allowed briefly to summarise their concern, although I am not allowed to speak to the petition.
They believe that the proposal to have football identity cards will have little impact on the problem of football-related violence. What concerns them is that much of the violence takes place outside the ground and that it is best dealt with, as it is in Derby, through co-operation with the local police. Where such violence has taken place within the ground, the club—Derby County—has taken its own steps, through a key club and in some cases through a lifetime ban, to deal with such difficulties.
The petitioners also believe that the proposal will hinder attempts to attract a new generation of supporters to our own or to other football clubs. In particular, they are concerned that this will deter the casual attender, who might have been attracted towards becoming a long-term supporter of the game.
Finally, they are very concerned—as are all football supporters—by the entry problems that they believe a card system would cause. They were concerned about it before the Hillsborough disaster, but their concern has been heightened by what happened at Hillsborough. They call on the Government in their petition to bring forward proposals that would have the support of genuine football supporters.
I beg leave to present the petition.
To lie upon the Table.