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Club News

Smoke and Flare Laws Reminder

14 August 2015

Club News

Smoke and Flare Laws Reminder

14 August 2015

Get behind the U's the right way

Oxford United would like to remind fans of the laws concerning smoke bombs and flares at matches.


Under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol, etc.) Act 1985 it is an offence for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground whilst in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework.


Sentences for these offences can be as much as three months in prison, and in many cases, fans with no previous convictions are being given prison sentences for attempting to enter a football ground with a smoke bomb in their pocket as the courts take these offences very seriously. There are two different offences: possession in the football ground and possession whilst attempting to enter the football ground.  The courts do not consider one offence to be more serious than the other.  Those found to be trying to enter a football ground with a firework, flare or smoke grenade have still been given custodial sentences.


It is just as serious to try and carry a smoke bomb into a football ground as it is a firework or flare. Sparklers fall into the definition of a firework, as do bangers. A smoke bomb is anything which emits smoke or visible gas, even something which is homemade. Convictions for possession of a firework, smoke bomb or flare will usually result in a football banning order being imposed on the person.


de the court that the offence is football related, and that it is necessary to impose the order to prevent the offence happening again. Football banning orders imposed by a court after a conviction for football related offences are for three years.  These usually cover ANY football match in England or Wales. The very nature of the offence means that the prosecution are likely to be able to persua


The banning order could also prevent them from entering the town of their football team on match days. During international matches passports are often to be handed to Police, preventing the holder from travelling abroad. A football banning order will show on a criminal records check which in turn could prevent a fan from travelling to international destinations, and visas being denied, even when the travel has nothing to do with football.


Some football clubs have issued life bans to supporters who have been convicted of possession of a firework, flare or smoke bomb, meaning that even when the banning order has expired, you could still be banned by your club.


Oxford United currently issue Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) to anyone convicted of a football related offence in the courts, but also to those supporters whose behavior at home matches does not fit with the family ethos of Oxford United. 


Where a supporter is issued an ABC, whether after a banning order or not, that supporter may not attend matches at Kassam Stadium until they sign up to agree to the terms of the contract. Our aim as a football club is to provide a safe environment for everyone who wishes to attend matches.  Your safety is our priority and the club are working hard to make sure that your match day experience is not only enjoyable on the pitch, but in the safety of the stands as well. 


Remember, the behaviour of our fans is our responsibility both at home and at away fixtures.  Any fine we may receive is less money for players.  We could even face point deductions or the prospect of playing behind closed doors. 



 §You can go to prison for even attempting to enter a football ground with a smoke grenade or flare.

 §Football banning orders last for three years where you could get barred from ANY football match in England and Wales.

 §You will get a criminal record and probably be fined.

 §This could stop you travelling abroad even for family holidays.

 §Don’t carry anything into a football ground that someone else gives you without knowing exactly what it is. 



KEEP SMOKE GRENADES, FLARES and FIREWORKS OUT OF FOOTBALL.  Help us to help keep you, and those around you, safe.

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