Reports out of England and Wales claim crime at soccer matches inside the two countries skyrocketed. Disruptive incidents are up 60% compared to the last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, figures during the pandemic did not feature in the statistics. Fans did not attend matches. When they did, it was in considerably smaller quantities.
These disturbing events occurred at more than half of all matches in England and Wales within the 2021/22 campaign. This is compared to the 2018/19 season when crimes were reported at 33% of all games in the same area.
Along with these incidents, the report also suggests that arrests are also up 59%. There were nearly 2,200 confirmed arrests during the last campaign, the highest amount of arrests during soccer matches since the 2013/14 season.
Perhaps even more staggering is the alarming increase in hate crimes. There were 384 reported cases of hate crimes last season. This is an increase of 99%. Pitch invasions are also a problem as well. 441 total pitch invasions for the 2021/22 seasons was a 127% increase over the previous year.
England and Wales spike in crime at soccer games
“Disorder is a problem that has not gone away, and throughout the whole of last season we saw an increase in crime at football matches across the country – from the Premier League right down to the National League,” stated Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the man in charge of soccer-related policing.
Fans who invade the pitch or set off pyrotechnics at Premier League games will face stadium bans of at least a year.
There was an increase in people running onto the pitch and setting off smoke bombs or flares last season.
Suspensions can also be handed to parents & guardians. pic.twitter.com/ku5fka6Lcl
— Metro Radio News (@MetroRadioNews) September 21, 2022
“The statistics released today show a worrying rise in these crimes, which are both extremely dangerous for players, staff and fellow fans alike,” Roberts continued. “As well as being banned, anyone who commits these offenses should also expect to be prosecuted by the police.”
This report also broke down the statistics to each specific club. West Ham led all teams in the area with 95 total arrests. Manchester City (76), Manchester United (72), Leicester City (59), and Everton (58) rounded out the top five.
While more arrests were made at West Ham than any other ground, Millwall actually banned the most fans with 33. Leicester (28) and Everton (26) also ranked inside the top three in this category.
The Premier League announced on Wednesday that they will issue a one-year ban for anyone that enters the pitch or is found with pyrotechnics.
Jeremy Quin, Minister for the Home Office, claimed that police are taking these actions very seriously. “The increase in football-related arrests shows that police are taking firm action to stop this disorder and preserve the enjoyment of the game for fans and families which I wholeheartedly support,” claimed Quin.