FSF Caseworker Amanda Jacks explains what you should do if served with a Football Banning Order (FBO)...
FBO applications are granted by the courts if they are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order would help prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with any regulated football match.
Applications are either made on conviction of a football-related offence or by a Chief Constable to the courts, these are known as 'civil' bans.
"Targets" for civil bans need not have a criminal conviction and to support their application the police can produce evidence that is up to 10-years-old, this may include CCTV footage.
Invariably, if a supporter served with an application for a civil FBO contacts me for advice, he'll tell me that the police hand delivered the application, advised them to accept it without challenge as, if they don't, they could be hit with huge costs, into the thousands of pounds. Fans also tell me that the police claim courts may even increase the period of the ban and legal aid won't be available.
This is not professional legal advice nor is it given in the supporters best interest yet may mean that a lot of applications are granted without challenge by the courts.
With the Euros next year, it is possible that the number of civil applications will increase. I've already assisted three supporters over the summer and referred them to a solicitor, Melanie Cooke, for an initial free of charge consultation after which the supporter will be advised whether or not they should contest the application.
While the likelihood of you or anybody you know being served with an application is low my advice is simple - regardless of what the police may tell you, don't just go to court and accept the order without some free, professional advice from a specialist solicitor.
You can contact FSF Caseworker Amanda Jacks via:
Watching Football Is Not A Crime! is part of the FSF's ongoing drive to monitor the police in their dealings with football fans and work with them to ensure that all fans are treated fairly and within the law.