The Regulation of Football Disorder: A Case of Punishment Without Trial?

The Regulation of Football Disorder: A Case of Punishment Without Trial?

Wednesday 9th December 2010 at 6pm
Lankaster Lecture Theatre
Medawar Building (University College London),
Malet Place, (off Torrington Place),
London WC1

(For directions please see the pdf map).

Given by:
Dr Mark James, Reader in Law at Salford Law School


Since the introduction of its forerunner, the Exclusion Order, in the Public Order Act 1986, the Football Banning Orders (FBO) has played and increasingly important and high profile role in the police’s strategy for regulating football-related disorder.  The key development in the usefulness of FBOs to the police was the introduction of s.14B Football Spectators Act.  This provision enabled the chief officer of police of an area where a person lives to apply for an FBO to prevent them from attending all regulated football matches in England and Wales and all games taking place abroad that involved the England national team and the team supported by the banned person; previously, FBOs could only be imposed following a conviction for a football related offence.

In the run up to the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany, the police made a concerted effort to apply for FBOs under s.14B to prevent all suspected football hooligans from travelling to the tournament.  The perceived success of this strategy is likely to see it being repeated in the months before the World Cup in South Africa next year.  This paper analyses the legality of imposing a FBO on a person who is only suspected of involvement in football-related disorder and questions their use as a tactic for controlling football hooliganism.


  • James, M and Pearson, G ‘The Legality and Effectiveness of Using Football Banning Orders in the Fight Against Racism and Violence at Sports Events’ in Gardiner, S., Parrish, R and Siekmann, R(Eds) EU, Sport, Law and Policy: Regulation, Re-Regulation and Representation (2009 TMC Asser Press) pp. 535-555
  • James, M and Pearson, G ‘Football Banning Orders: Analysing their use in Court’ (2006) 70(6) Journal of Criminal Law 509
  • Pearson, G ‘Qualifying for Europe? The Legitimacy of Football Banning Orders ‘On Complaint’ under the Principle of Proportionality’ (2005) 3(1) Entertainment and Sports Law Journal online


Dr Mark James Mark is a Reader in Law at Salford Law School and the Director of the Salford Centre of Legal Research.  He has published widely on the law relating to sports injuries and the regulation of spectators.  He is a founding editor of the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal and has recently competed writing a textbook, Sports Law, for the Palgrave Law Masters series.  He is currently working on an analysis of the jurisprudence surrounding personal autonomy and risk taking and is conducting an ongoing investigation of the regulation of ticket touting at sport and entertainment events with Prof Guy Osborn of the University of Westminster.

Contact Details


Birkbeck Sport Business Seminar Series Contact Details

For further details on the seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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