‘It’s become fashionable’: practitioner perspectives on football hooliganism involving young people

Richard Hester *, Nick Pamment

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Senior officers responsible for policing football highlight a concerning increase in football hooliganism involving young people in England and Wales. This study is specifically concerned with people under 18 years old that are engaged with hooliganism in connection with football matches, which is an under-researched problem despite recent high-profile incidents. Surveys and interviews with football club safety officers, and police officers involved in football policing were conducted to gain a first-hand insight into this issue. Freedom of Information requests were sent to the Home Office, to establish data trends in youth arrests, banning orders and disorder at football. Despite the concerns of senior police officers, it was found that there is no readily available Home Office data on football hooliganism involving young people. The study highlights that this issue is perceived to be increasing, with children as young as 10 being involved. Whilst there is some indication that football banning orders are being used on under-18s, this is currently seen as a last resort for police forces with a range of interventions being used to divert young people away from football hooliganism. However, there is no nationally adopted approach to managing this issue. Youth projects have had successful results in preventing under-18s from going on to reoffend in a football context. Best practice interventions are recommended, which if adopted by football clubs and police forces may help to minimise the impact of football violence involving young people.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Aug 2020


  • Football hooliganism
  • football violence
  • football policing
  • youth justice
  • football banning orders


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