Soccer-PL clubs agree to minimum-length bans for invasions, smoke bombs

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Brentford v Arsenal - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - September 18, 2022 General view inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/David Klein

(Reuters) - Supporters of Premier League teams who take part in anti-social and criminal behaviour at stadiums will receive automatic club bans with a minimum term of one year, the league said on Wednesday after unanimously agreeing to the move.

Last season there was an increase in the number of pitch invasions at the end of the campaign as fans celebrated titles, promotion or survival with several altercations taking place including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira.

Smoke bombs and pyrotechnics, which have long been used at games in continental Europe and around in the world, used to be relatively rare in England but their use has become a more regular occurrence.

"Fans caught carrying or activating pyrotechnics or smoke bombs, or entering the pitch without permission, will receive an automatic club ban with a minimum term of one year," the league said in a statement after its shareholders' meeting.

"These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in such activities. This policy is effective immediately and the ban is applicable to both home and away matches."

In July, the Premier League and English Football League said tough sanctions would be in place for pitch invasions and the use of smoke bombs and pyrotechnics from the 2022-23 season.

The leagues and the Football Association had said that "all identified offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which may affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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