English police step up measures to stop hooligans heading to Dublin for friendly

England fans will be closely monitored
England fans will be closely monitored

The head of policing football in England has confirmed that extra measures to curb hooligans travelling to Aviva Stadium next month are in place

On June 7, Ireland will host England at Aviva Stadium in the first soccer game between the sides on Irish soil since the Lansdowne Road riot of 1995.

Over 20 years have passed since that fateful night and the police in England have stepped up measures designed to stop any fans banned from travelling making the trip.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts,  the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Football Policing, said: “It has been a point of pride in recent years that England fans’ behaviour has completely moved on from the dark days of the 1980s.  We have been able to tell overseas police colleagues that they will not encounter the sort of problems that used to be associated with England fans.  While the majority of fans continue to behave themselves, in the last four England away fixtures we have seen a significant amount of drunken anti-social behaviour, unpleasant chanting aimed at provoking home supporters and a small number of people who seem to take every opportunity to create distress for others.

“Regrettably that means we have to increase our enforcement activity using tactics that proved successful in addressing these problems in the past.

“Given the deterioration in fan behaviour and the proximity of Dublin, I have reintroduced the requirement to sign on at a police station as well as to surrender passports.  We will be running a national operation to round up those who fail to comply before and immediately after the fixture. To make triply sure of compliance, these measures will be supplemented with all official England Supporters Travelling Club members being required to collect their tickets in person in Dublin with photo ID.

“I am in regular contact with the FA and other partners in the football community and, while there is no specific intelligence as yet to suggest planned disorder there is sufficient concern to take proactive action to ensure that fans are clear that bad behaviour is not acceptable and will face serious sanctions.

“Football policing ‘spotters’ from England will also be present in Dublin and the Aviva stadium to gather evidence of any bad behaviour and ensure anyone who offends faces the consequences of their actions,  We are working closely with An Garda Síochána to support their operation.”

The extra measures, like the signing in requirement, have not been put in place for four years.