2 Lord Wolfson of Tredegar debates involving the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Football Matches: Violence

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Wednesday 14th June 2023

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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It is an offence under Section 4 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991 for a person at a designated football match to go on to the playing area. Anyone found guilty of unlawfully doing so can be fined or can have a court preventive football banning order imposed on them. As I say, we have strengthened the football banning orders, and we keep these important matters under review. My department commissioned the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to conduct research into the long-term sustainability of stewarding. It is now working with football’s governing bodies and others to identify the challenges that it identified in its research. It has refined guidance and issued fact sheets to the football authorities. We keep these matters under review, including, as the noble Lord rightly reminds us, as we pursue our bid for Euro 2028.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interest as the chair of the Football Regulatory Authority. The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, is right: throughout the season, commentators and pundits rightly condemn pitch invasions. However, somehow, at the end of the season, when it is the fans of teams who have secured promotion—or, in Everton’s case, fortuitously avoided relegation—streaming on to the pitch, those same commentators and pundits think it is a wonderful thing. It is actually very dangerous for players, match officials, stewards and the spectators themselves. Would my noble friend the Minister take note of the FA’s consistent work in this area and take this as an open invitation for him and anybody from his department to meet with me or anybody else at the FA to discuss these matters further?

Football: Abuse and Violence

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Monday 12th December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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We believe that change needs to come from the top and participants in the professional game have the opportunity to be positive role models for people taking part at every level. That is a central message in the FA’s new “Enough is Enough” campaign. Underlining this, last month the FA challenged a decision by the independent regulatory commission only to fine the manager of Liverpool FC following his sending off by the referee for shouting in the face of a linesman. The FA won its appeal and Mr Klopp served a one-game touchline ban.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, I declare a double interest after that answer, as both a member of the Football Regulatory Authority and a supporter of Liverpool Football Club. As my noble friend has said, all forms of abuse are unacceptable. The FA is doing important work in this area, including safeguarding. There are going to be increased sanctions, more education for both players and supporters and, at grass-roots level, the introduction of the sin-bin—which may be an idea that my noble friend the Chief Whip will take up at some point. Does my noble friend welcome these developments and the increased focus to make sure that every match official is protected from abuse within and outside the stadium, so that we can all make the beautiful game even more beautiful?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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I congratulate my noble friend on his appointment and commend the work undertaken by the Football Association. I have mentioned its “Enough is Enough” campaign, which is taking action against anybody whose behaviour is unacceptable. The FA can also ban anybody who is abusive or violent towards match officials, and stricter sanctions have been introduced this season which will see longer bans put in place and mandatory education courses before anyone found guilty can return to football.