Spectator behaviour at sporting events

Major sporting events in Northern Ireland should be welcoming and enjoyable for everyone. It is important that offensive or dangerous activities do not occur. People who act inappropriately can be fined or sent to prison.

What is considered an offence?

There are several activities which are deemed to be offences at sporting events:

  • throwing an article capable of causing injury - can attract a fine of up to £1,000
  • indecent or sectarian chanting - can attract a fine of up to £1,000
  • going onto the playing area - can attract a fine of up to £1,000
  • possessing fireworks or flares at a match - can attract a prison sentence of up to three months
  • possessing alcohol on private hire vehicles on the way to sporting events  - can attract a prison sentence of up to three months and the private vehicle operator can also be fined up to £2,500 for permitting alcohol onto the vehicle

Events and venues

The offences apply to the following sporting events and venues:

  • association football international matches
  • Irish Football Association (IFA) Premiership and Championship matches
  • Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Premier League and First Division matches played in Northern Ireland
  • Gaelic games matches played at county grounds and some secondary grounds
  • rugby matches played at Ravenhill

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