A follow up post from Manifesto Club member, Peter Lloyd, on the phenomenon of ‘bubble football matches’ (where away fans are banned from travelling to a match under their own steam, and must instead take approved coaches at defined pickup places and times)…
If you are a Portsmouth Football Club supporter you will probably be aware that you will only be able to see your team play on 7th April at local rivals Southampton if you travel by designated coach from a designated pick up point at a designated time to a designated drop off point. That’s because the fixture is a “Bubble” match. It doesn’t sound like fun.
For those who disagree with the principle of “Bubble” matches which restrict or eliminate independent travel to high level football matches, you can sign an e-petition against them on the Government website at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19864.
Further investigation shows that policing is cheaper for football clubs on match days if they adopt the “Bubble” system. We could therefore see more clubs choosing it unless fans fight back and demand not to be treated as likely offenders and have their movement severely restricted.
The numbers of supporters wishing to travel to away matches falls by as much as 80% when these restrictions are imposed. One reason is that it is easy for coaches carrying away supporters to be a target for hooligans of the home club. It can be much safer to walk unobtrusively from your car or from a railway station to and from the ground. Far from increasing the enjoyment of a match, the “Bubble” creates a climate of fear and increases suspicion of football supporters by the authorities, especially the police.
Read on: Previous post on bubble football matches…
UPDATE 21 Feb: statistics on match arrests, shows football violence is decreasing:
Total match attendance was over 37 million in the 2010-11 season at regulated football matches in England and Wales. The total number of arrests represents less than 0.01% of all spectators, or 1 arrest for every 12,249 spectators. During the 2010-11 season the total number of people arrested in connection with all international and domestic football (regulated) matches was 3,089. This represents a decrease of 9%, or 302 arrests, on 2009-10 totals. These figures show how relatively rare arrests are, and just 332 of them were for violent disorder, 40% lower than 2009-10. 71% of matches had no arrests, 86% had two or less and 51% of matches were police free.