HL Deb 07 March 2005 vol 670 cc65-6WA
Lord Smith of Leigh

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that media coverage of certain football matches as "grudge fixtures" has increased crowd trouble at recent games; and how they will work with the Football Association to prevent the return of football-related violence. [HL1481]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Football disorder will not be tolerated. Tough legislation is in place and targeted and public order policing operations will continue to identify troublemakers for banning order purposes. The Home Office works closely with the police, football authorities and fans in taking forward a comprehensive multi-agency strategy designed to minimise the threat of English football disorder at home and overseas. That strategy is working and football stadia in England and Wales are now among the safest and most secure in the world. There was a 10 per cent. decrease in the number of football related arrests last season with, on average, fewer than two arrests inside and outside of grounds at each match. Statistics for the current season show a continuing decline in the number of football-related arrests and incidents. However, there is no complacency. Football disorder may have been marginalised but it has not been eradicated. Clearly some matches pose a higher than average degree of risk due to local and other rivalries. These matches are easy to predict and there is nothing to suggest that the level of risk is significantly increased by media coverage.

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