Football hooligans from across the West Midlands will today be forced to surrender their passports ahead of England’s friendly with Brazil in Rio.
A total of 225 people who have been handed football banning orders will have to submit documentation to the police by the end of today. Officers have warned that those who fail to surrender their passport face being arrested and taken to court.
Sgt Donna Jones, from the force’s football unit, said: “Many of those subject to banning orders have already made arrangements to hand over their passports.
“But although most understand and recognise the travel restriction, a minority may still be tempted to defy the ban and try to make their way to Brazil. We will actively pursue anyone who fails to hand over their passports. They will be placed before the courts and could be imprisoned or fined.
“We work closely with officers from the UK Football Policing Unit, and details of those subject to banning orders have been shared with port authorities. We’re confident no-one will slip through the net.” Passports of people with banning orders – most of which run from between three and 10 years – will be retained by police until Sunday’s friendly gets under way.
The West Midlands force is not sending officers to Brazil for the game. Football banning orders are issued by the courts following a conviction for a football-related offence, or after a complaint by the Crown Prosecution Service or a police force.
For an order to be issued, it must be proved that the accused person has caused or contributed to football-related violence or disorder and that an order will prevent them from misbehaving further. Breach of an order, for example if someone attended a game while the subject of a ban, is a criminal offence and is punishable by a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
Last year, 300 football thugs from the region had their passports seized to prevent them from travelling to the European Championships.
Police officers took the measure to reduce the risk of disorder when England competed in Poland and Ukraine.Subscribe to our Newsletter