The shocking extent of criminal and anti-social behaviour at matches in England and Wales has been set out in data released by the Home Office on Thursday.
A total of 2,198 football-related arrests were made last season – the highest figure for a single campaign in the last eight years.
That number is a 59% increase on 2018-19 (1,381 arrests), which was the last full campaign with supporters in stadiums before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The data paints a depressing picture for the domestic game, with incidents reported at 1,609 of the 3,019 matches played in England and Wales over the course of last season – equating to 53%.
In 2018-19, there were reported incidents at 1,007 matches, equivalent to one-third of the games played.
There were 441 pitch invasions reported last season – up by a staggering 127% on the 2018-19 campaign – and 384 hate crime incidents, an increase of 99%.
The most reported types of incidents were pyrotechnics (729 matches where incidents were reported), throwing missiles (561) and public order or anti-social behaviour incidents involving youth supporters (444).
A total of 2,198 football-related arrests were made in England and Wales last season
Since 2015, football-related arrests have been on a downward curve, but the figures have now worryingly surged upwards.
West Ham supporters were the worst offenders, with 95 arrests connected to the Hammers. That is followed by Manchester City (76), Manchester United (72), Leicester (59) and Everton (58).
There was also an increase in arrests at international fixtures from pre-Covid levels. 38 were made at England and Wales national team matches in 2021-22, three of which occurred at the Women’s European Championships.
This is a 111% increase compares with 18 arrests at national team matches in 2018-19, but down from the 92 made in 2020-2021 – although this figure was overwhelmingly influenced by the 90 that occurred at Euro 2020.
The number of banning orders in England and Wales has continued to decrease, with 1,308 in place at the end of the last season – compared to 1,359 last year and 2,731 a decade ago.