25th Sep, 2018

Football troublemakers forced to hand over passports ahead of World Cup

Felix Nobes 4th Jun, 2018 Updated: 4th Jun, 2018

FOOTBALL troublemakers are being warned to avoid a World Cup own goal by ensuring they surrender their passport – or face arrest and a potential jail term.

West Midlands Police has written to all 214 people on football banning orders (FBOs) to stress they must hand over their passports because they are banned from travelling to Russia for the tournament.

Those who fail to surrender their documents at police stations on Monday or Tuesday (June 4 and 5 ) will be pursued by officers and taken to court.

They risk of a hefty fine or up to six months in prison if they fail to comply.

The force will also have officers at Birmingham Airport during the tournament to stop any hooligans who try to sneak across to Russia.

Inspector Andy Bridgewater, head of West Midlands Police’s specialist Football Unit, said: “The World Cup is the pinnacle of international football with some of the best teams and players competing against each other.

“But those with an FBO have sacrificed the chance of being part of the festival of football through their previous behaviour.

“They have been issued for a reason and troublemakers from the West Midlands are not welcome at this showpiece event.

“We know full well who has a football banning order and those who fail to surrender their passport can expect to be arrested and hauled before the courts.”

Anyone convicted of football-related offences and given an FBO is stopped from attending matches or going to overseas tournaments. The passports will be retained until the end of the World Cup.

The orders can be handed out after trouble at games, and to those who commit a football-related offence such as fighting or damaging property in a pub while watching a game.

The force also has plans in place to ensure those watching games at venues across the West Midlands can do so in a safe environment.

Local policing units will be on visible patrol in cities and towns during games, while extra officers will be available if needed.

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