Juvenile Pool fan hit by ban
A Blackpool fan under the age of 18 was one of more than 100 juveniles to be banned from football matches in the past three years, latest figures show.
The fan is one of five from Lancashire to be slapped with the order, with the youngest being 16.
The other four are fans of Burnley, Preston North End and Blackburn.
The youngest in the country was just 12.
Figures from Lancashire Police showed the oldest person to receive a football banning order (FBO) in the past three years was 64 at the time.
Dr Geoff Pearson, a senior law lecturer at Manchester University, said there were “huge discrepancies” between forces about how they used the Football Banning Order legislation.
He said in Europe, fans groups and clubs ran education programmes for youngsters encouraging them to keep out of trouble.
There were also concerns that FBOs, introduced following trouble by England fans at major international tournaments, should be handed out as a last resort to children.
During the research, stories emerged of kids getting “casual” clothing labels sewn into their school uniforms, while others, branded “schooligans”, pose up on social media and attempt to look hard.
Amanda Jacks, a case worker with the Football Supporters’ Federation, said young people should be steered away from trouble before banning orders and the criminal justice system were considered.
She said young fans behaving in a generally anti-social manner were targeted by the police, in a way that other gangs of youngsters were not.
Speaking about the “schooligan” phenomenon, she said: “There’s no doubt that there is a glamorisation of football disorder and kids are attracted to it for the wrong reason.
“There does need to be some consistency – if 14, 15, 16-year-olds are getting banning orders, that should be the last resort, not the first.”
The figures also showed a there were more than 120 of over 50s who have been banned from attending games in the past three years.
Greater Manchester Police, which looks after Manchester United and City as well as fierce rivals in lower leagues such as Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan, has no under 18s on a ban.
The statistics were revealed in Freedom of Information requests to police forces showed more than 100 under 18s received an FBO in the three years up to March this year.
The Home Office said in September there were 2,181 people with a football banning order.
The 12-year-old was banned following widespread disorder in Newcastle city centre after the Magpies were beaten 3-0 at home by arch rivals Sunderland in April 2013.