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Football banning orders totalling more than 30 years have been handed to eight supporters who have pleaded guilty to offences committed following Bristol Rovers’ home match with Forest Green Rovers last season.
The two clubs met at The Memorial Stadium on Saturday 23 April in a League Two promotion clash but after the full-time whistle fans from both sides ran onto the pitch and aggressively confronted one another.
Avon and Somerset Police’s football unit carried out an investigation, with the support of both clubs, to identify those responsible for committing offences, including pitch encroachment, possessing a flare and public order matters.
Five men and one woman who had been sat among Bristol Rovers supporters and two men who were among the away fans during the game have been sentenced since June, with the final hearing held at Bristol Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday 24 November).
Overall, the courts sentenced the eight people to football banning orders totalling 33 years and fines totalling £3,250. One man was also jailed for 10 weeks.
A further three people were also dealt with by police for offences at the same match and were dealt with out of court either by conditional caution or through signing an acceptable behaviour contract.
Each of the eight defendants received a football banning order, ranging from three to 10 years in length. It prohibits them from attending club and international matches for the duration of the order, but also may include exclusion zones around stadia before and after home fixtures, plus a day-long ban on travel to towns and cities where away matches are being played.
Recipients of football banning orders have also been required to surrender their passport to prevent them from attending the ongoing men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Force Football Officer PC Tom Williams said: “The behaviour at the full-time whistle from a small minority of fans was unacceptable and we are grateful to both Bristol Rovers and Forest Green Rovers for their help in identifying those people responsible.
“The football banning orders send a clear message that disorder at matches cannot, and will not, be tolerated.
“These eight people now find themselves banned from going to football matches for several years as a consequence of their behaviour.”