Cup ban for ‘fans’
10:15am Wednesday 3rd May 2006 in By Gareth Bethell & Mark Hookham
A TOTAL of 33 Swindon Town football hooligans have been banned from travelling to Germany for the World Cup finals.
The yobs are all subject to Football Banning Orders and must report to a police station and surrender their passports 10 days before the opening match on June 9.
They will also have to report to police every day England play during the tournament.
James Neighbour, football liaison officer for Swindon police, and his team spent months gathering evidence against the troublemakers.
He says the banning orders will reduce the risk of England being shamed by yobs from our town.
A total of 3,286 banning orders have been imposed by courts across England and Wales with 33 in Wiltshire.
PC Neighbour said: "The banning orders were necessary due to the World Cup in Germany.
"It's not difficult to travel to and there are other countries taking part that have more worrying problems with hooligans than England, like Poland, Holland and Germany themselves."
The Football Banning Orders are a civil measure, designed to make it easier to stop hooligans attending games without proving criminal behaviour beyond reasonable doubt'.
Behaviour likely to result in a ban includes fighting, stirring up racial hatred, using threatening or abusive words and displaying abusive or insulting writing'.
Offenders banned from international matches are also outlawed from any league ground in England.
The first Town fan to receive a civil banning order was Paul Merritt, then 27, of Applewood Court in Westlea in July last year.
The orders normally last for two to five years.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said that the banning orders will be rigorously enforced.
He said English and German police and authorities had the leading relationship in Europe in combating hooliganism.
Mr Clarke said: "The German slogan for the World Cup is time to make friends' and that's how we want to see this tournament going.
"We want it to be a celebration of football, an expression of the modern relationship between Germany and Britain."
In March, rival football fans caused chaos when they clashed at a Swindon pub on a day when neither teams kicked a ball.
Twelve people were arrested after the trouble which involved up to 100 people at the Queens Tap.
Men, who are believed to be Bristol Rovers supporters, smashed all of the pub's windows and they were seen hurling cans and bottles at Swindon fans drinking inside.