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Football fans found guilty of selling or using class A drugs such as cocaine at matches could face a five-year ban, the government has announced, in a bid to tackle rising violence and disruption.

The new rules, announced by Police Minister Kit Malthouse on Thursday, could also require anyone convicted to surrender their passport when their team plays overseas.

Boris Johnson has claimed the drug habits of ‘middle class cokeheads’ are fueling crime across the UK, adding: ‘Their habit is fueling a war on our streets, driving misery and crime to our country and beyond.

“That’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to make sure those who break the law face the full consequences, because illegal drug use is never a victimless crime.”

The move is backed by the National Police Chiefs Council as drug abuse fuels rising violence and disorder at matches.

Statistics released by the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) in January showed a 47 per cent increase in arrests compared to the same period of the 2019-20 season and a 36 per cent increase in reports of disorder during games.

Almost a year ago, thousands without tickets tried to storm Wembley Stadium to watch England take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final, and tens of thousands others created scenes of lawless disorder on Olympic Way. According to passers-by, heavy use of alcohol and cocaine was evident.

Malthouse said some football games had seen shocking “ugly violence”. “It was an exciting season of football, but in some games we saw horrific violence that shocked all leagues,” he said.

“Increasingly, the police are finding Class A drugs at the heart of this disorder, so we need to act. The football family wants every pitch to be a safe space for fans, especially children, and us too.”

He added that such bans have been successful in the past. “The football banning orders were a game-changer in eradicating racism and violence in football, and now we want them to do the same for drug-related disorders,” he said. declared.

“The government is committed to reducing drug use and making sure everyone who takes drugs understands that drugs have consequences.”

theguardian Gt

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