Football violence in the UK is on the rise: pitch invasions; players and coaches being attacked by fans; fighting inside and outside grounds across England and Wales. But what’s driving it? Cocaine and class-A drugs? A new generation of younger fans? Or a collective release of bottled frustrations after two years of Covid lockdowns?
The police are cracking down with new banning orders, targeting fans supplying cocaine and other Class-A narcotics, meaning they’re not allowed back inside grounds for years. But experts say blanket bans won’t work, that the approach needs to focus on education and identifying the next generation of troublemakers before it’s too late. In the meantime, it’s left to the stewards, who have seen their workforce depleted after the pandemic, to deal with ripped up seats, broken bottles, abuse and anti-social behaviour. Are we heading back to an era of violence, with echoes of the 1980s hooliganism that tarnished British football in the eyes of the world, or is there a way to restore calm in football grounds across the country?
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