As we approach the closing stages of another exciting season across the Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship, National League System and the FA Cups, there remains plenty to play for in all competitions, with titles, silverware, promotion, European qualification, play-off and relegation places all at stake.
The passionate support of fans is a vital part of what makes football so special in this country. It is completely understandable that emotions run high, particularly at this stage of the season when there is so much to play for.
However, we must remind supporters that in the interests of safety and wellbeing for everyone inside our stadiums, the pitch is for players, managers and officials, while the stands are there for fans to support their team.
At the end of last season, we witnessed some unwelcome scenes when fans entered the field of play without permission at several grounds. Even if this is done in celebratory fashion, any supporter who comes onto the pitch is breaking the law and putting the welfare of players, coaches, club staff and fellow fans at risk.
We know that this unacceptable behaviour is carried out by a minority of fans, and their actions do not represent most supporters, but they risk ruining the fantastic experience of a football match for everyone.
At the start of this season, the Premier League, EFL, NLS Leagues and The FA worked with the Football Supporters’ Association to introduce new measures and stronger sanctions to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviours, such as entering the pitch and the use of pyrotechnics.
This includes automatic club bans and police action, and we have seen cases this season which have led to fans receiving criminal records. This can impact employment and education prospects, restrict ability to travel overseas, and could result in a prison sentence. Club bans can also extend to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in this activity.
As we reach the exciting culmination of another thrilling football season, we want fans to continue to show their positive support as this can make all the difference to a team’s fortunes.
But our message is clear: fans must stay in the stands and avoid any unnecessary disruption at such a crucial point of the season.
Love Football, Protect the Game.
Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive
Trevor Birch, EFL Chief Executive
Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Executive
Kevin Miles, FSA Chief Executive
Kelly Simmons, Director of the Women’s Professional Game
Jack Pearce, Chair of The FA Alliance Committee