Football fans in England and Wales could be banned from games if they make fun of tragedies such as the Hillsborough disaster, under the updated guidance of the Crown Prosecution Service.
CPS guidelines will state that actions such as chanting, chanting or posting offensive messages regarding disasters or accidents involving players or fans may be considered a breach of public order.
He was backed by the chief executives of the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League.
The guidelines will help prosecutors make legal decisions on cases and explain how lawyers can apply for football banning orders, which can prevent fans from attending games and impose other restrictions, such as travel to certain areas and to tournaments such as next year’s. European Championship 2024, or be allowed in pubs during matches.
CPS’ Douglas Mackay said: “A small minority of so-called fans both damage the sport’s reputation and, more importantly, this offense has a devastating impact on the families of tragedy victims and the communities closely linked to these events.”
The guidance would apply to chants about incidents such as the 1958 Munich plane crash which killed eight Manchester United players, the 1985 Bradford City fire in which 56 fans died, and the death of Emiliano Sala in a plane crash in 2019.
Mark Roberts, the Cheshire Chief Constable and National Council of Chief Constables officer for football policing, said the organization was working closely with the CPS and welcomed efforts to tackle ‘senseless chanting’ and vicious that unfortunately a minority of supporters engage in”.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “We firmly believe that there is no place for tragic, heinous abuse in football.
“Together with our clubs and the authorities, we are committed to punishing those found guilty and we will also focus on educating fans of all ages to understand why this abuse is so hurtful and unacceptable.”
There have been several successful lawsuits in recent months over disaster-related abuse or offensive posts.
In June, James White, a Manchester United supporter, was banned from playing football for four years after he admitted wearing a shirt at Wembley which made an offensive reference to the Hillsborough disaster.
United have issued an indefinite ban on White, 33, preventing him from attending all club activities.