English football authorities have launched a crackdown on stadium invaders and other anti-social behavior by fans with automatic club bans among the new measures.
Concerns have been raised about safety issues at football stadiums after a series of accidents that marred the end of last season.
Fans who carry or use fireworks or smoke bombs will now get automatic club bans and violators reported to the police, while clubs also face stricter policies and stronger penalties.
The Football Supporters’ Association has supported the new measures, which are being jointly launched by the Football Association, the Premier League and the English Football League since the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
“The increase in anti-social behavior that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was completely unacceptable and puts people’s safety at risk,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said in a statement.
“Together, English football has introduced new measures and stronger sanctions to send a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of illegal and dangerous behaviour.
“It is the responsibility of everyone in the game, including governing bodies, clubs, players, coaches and fans, to ensure that we all play our part in protecting our game and each other.”
Nottingham Forest fan Robert Biggs was jailed in May after heading Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp during the tournament’s play-off matches, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was assaulted in Manchester City on the final day of the season.
In another high-profile incident during the pitch invasion, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira sent off an Everton fan after inciting him at Goodison Park.
Earlier in the season, a Leicester City fan attacked Nottingham Forest players during an FA Cup match.
The football authorities are working with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to “establish a new principle” for issues relating to entering the stadium without permission, as well as incidents involving fireworks and smoke bombs.
Other actions that will be implemented include improving the search for individuals entering stadiums, increasing the use of sniffer dogs, and working with social media platforms to quickly remove fan videos of illegal behavior.