Football banning orders

If you are convicted of football-related violence or disorder, a court can impose a football banning order on you.

What is a football banning order?

A football banning order bans you from attending regulated football matches in Northern Ireland for a set period of time. A judge decides the length of the banning order. A banning order lasts between three and 10 years.

You aren't allowed to go to matches in Northern Ireland played by clubs in the Irish Football Association’s Premiership or Championship.

You are banned from matches in Northern Ireland:

  • where a team in the top two leagues of the Football Association of Ireland play
  • where a team in a major league in Great Britain play

You are also banned from international football matches played in Northern Ireland.

Additional banning order requirements

A judge may also attach additional requirements to a banning order - for example ban you from being in licensed premises near home games around match times.

When a banning order may be made

If you are convicted of violence or disorder which was connected to a football match, the court must consider whether to make a banning order.

If the judge believes that making a banning order against you would help prevent future violence or disorder connected with football matches, the judge must make the order.

Disorder and violence includes a wide range of behaviour, including:

  • threats of violence
  • putting someone’s life in danger
  • abusive behaviour
  • stirring up sectarian or racial hatred
  • displaying written threats, abuse or insults

Banning orders are intended to support measures in law and by sports authorities to help create a welcoming and safe environment for spectators at matches.

Complying with a football banning order

If you don't follow a football banning order you are breaking the law.  You can be punished with up to six months in jail or fined £5,000, or both.

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