By Roland Sebestyén
After the pictures and videos of people storming Wembley stadium before the Euros 2020 final were widely shared on the internet, the UK police have called for football fans who use cocaine to be banned from all matches.
The Independent reports that some England fans were filmed “openly snorting” white powder before the England-Italy match last Sunday, which eventually saw hundreds without tickets forcing their way into the stadium before kick-off.
Cheshire Constabulary Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who is also the national lead for football policing, told The Independent that he was working on a policy change that would allow police to ban fans who are found in possession of drugs.
According to Chief Constable Mark Roberts, cocaine use had been a problem among football fans.
Mr Roberts added: “Football reflects the increased use of cocaine in wider society, but it can drive some of the negative behaviour.
“Football Banning Order legislation currently specifies issues relating to alcohol misuse, and we would very much like to bring that up to date with drug usage and make that a trigger in the same way.”
The paper says that current legislation only recognises “possession of alcohol or being drunk while entering/trying to enter a ground” as an offence but it has nothing to offer for drugs (drug possession and/or use).
Mr Roberts said: “Changing the law would be useful and reflect some practicalities of what we are seeing.
“It is time for us to review how contemporary some of the Football Banning Order legislation is because time has moved on, and it’s appropriate to review it and check it’s fit for purpose.”
Shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, added: “The law should be changed to keep pace with the real world – and reflect what is causing and contributing to the disorder.
“That should include the use of all illegal drugs when it comes to Football Banning Orders.”
Dr Martha Newson, an anthropologist at the University of Kent, said cocaine use has been growing among football fans, and it is associated with “more fan disorder and violence”
The reason being is simple.
She said: “To sustain a day of drinking and still have the energy and coordination to push through security late in the day would be unusual.
“For a decade or more, many hardcore fans have used cocaine to maintain their energy in a way that alcohol cannot. Cocaine use is yet to be addressed in football.”