Fewer Wigan Athletic fans were arrested than those of any other club in England and Wales last season

Fewer Wigan fans were arrested than those of any other club in England and Wales last season, figures reveal.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 12:42 pm
Wigan Athletic fans

But police bosses say football-related disorder remains at “concerning levels” nationally, while the FA has called on fans to report any form of discrimination they witness.

Home Office data shows that Wigan supporters were arrested just three times during the 2018-19 season – fewer than any other club in the league that season.

Public disorder was the most common type of infraction by club supporters – two arrests were made for the offence.

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This was followed by one for alcohol-related offences.

Across England and Wales, there were 1,381 football-related arrests in 2018-19, down from 1,542 during the previous season.

The figures cover international and domestic matches involving English and Welsh clubs in the top five flights, or the national teams. It also includes supporters of other national or European teams arrested in a UK match with an English or Welsh team.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for football policing, said: “Football disorder remains at concerning levels – worryingly, this is becoming the new normality.

“Interestingly, higher levels of disorder are being seen in the lower leagues, and this could be attributed to the fact there is often a reduced police presence.

“With the absence of police officers to witness and respond, we are reliant on supporters and other agencies to report matters to us, so there could be a lot that goes unreported.”

Incidents were reported at 1,007 domestic club and international fixtures involving English and Welsh teams in 2018-19 – around a third of all those played.

Racist hate crimes were reported at 152 matches, compared to 94 during the previous season.

An FA spokesman said: “We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and encourage all fans and participants who believe that they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report it through the appropriate channels.”Wigan had four football banning orders in force as of August 1.

Someone with an FBO cannot attend any regulated football match in the UK, and can be sent to prison for breaching one.

Across England and Wales, there were 1,771 FBOs in place as of August – a slight drop on the same time last year.

But 549 new orders were handed out in the 2018-19 season, 89 more than the previous year.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Fans should be able to enjoy football in safety. It’s reassuring that the number of matches affected by anti-social behaviour continues to decrease, but we are clear that violence or disorder will not be tolerated.”