Football related offences (Revised 2017)

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994: s.166 (unauthorised sale or attempted sale of tickets);, Football Offences Act 1991: s.2 (throwing missile); s.3 (indecent or racist chanting); s.4 (going onto prohibited areas)., Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985: s.2(1) (possession of alcohol whilst entering or trying to enter ground); s.2(2) (being drunk in, or whilst trying to enter, ground).
Effective from: 24 April 2017

Triable only summarily
Maximum:

  • Level 2 fine (being drunk in ground)
  • Level 3 fine (throwing missile; indecent or racist chanting; going onto prohibited areas)
  • Unlimited fine (unauthorised sale of tickets)
  • Level 3 fine and/or 3 months (possession of alcohol)

Offence range:

  • Conditional discharge – High level community order (possession of alcohol)
  • Conditional discharge – Band C fine (all other offences)

User guide for this offence


Applicability

In accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the Sentencing Council issues this definitive guideline. It applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after the effective date of this guideline, regardless of the date of the offence (subject to requirement(s) being applicable).

Section 125(1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides that when sentencing offences committed
after 6 April 2010:

“Every court –

  1. must, in sentencing an offender, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the offender’s case, and
  2. must, in exercising any other function relating to the sentencing of offenders, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the exercise of the function,

unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.”

This guideline applies only to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Sentencing Guidelines Council’s definitive guideline, Overarching Principles – Sentencing Children and Young People.

Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1 Higher culpability and greater harm
Category 2 Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm
Category 3 Lower culpability and lesser harm

The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • Deliberate or flagrant action
  • Disregard of warnings
  • Commercial operation
  • Inciting others
  • (Possession of ) Large quantity of alcohol
  • Targeted abuse

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • All other cases

HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating greater harm

  • Distress or alarm caused
  • Actual injury or risk of injury
  • Significant financial loss to others

Factor indicating lesser harm

  • All other cases

Step 2 – Starting point and category range

Having determined the category at step one, the court should use the starting point to reach a sentence within the appropriate category range in the table below. The starting point applies to all offenders irrespective of plea or previous convictions.

Offence category Starting Point Range
Category 1 Band C fine Band C fine
Category 2 Band B fine Band A fine – Band C fine
Category 3 Band A fine Conditional discharge – Band B fine

Possession of alcohol only

Offence category Starting Point Range
Category 1 Band C fine Band C fine – High level community order
Category 2 Band B fine Band A fine – Band C fine
Category 3 Band A fine Conditional discharge – Band B fine
Band ranges
Starting point Range
Fine Band A  50% of relevant weekly income  25 – 75% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band B  100% of relevant weekly income  75 – 125% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band C  150% of relevant weekly income 125 – 175% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band D  250% of relevant weekly income 200 – 300% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band E 400% of relevant weekly income 300 – 500% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band F  600% of relevant weekly income  500 – 700% of relevant weekly income
Community orders table

The seriousness of the offence should be the initial factor in determining which requirements to include in a community order. Offence-specific guidelines refer to three sentencing levels within the community order band based on offence seriousness (low, medium and high). See below for non-exhaustive examples of requirements that might be appropriate in each.

At least one requirement MUST be imposed for the purpose of punishment and/or a fine imposed in addition to the community order unless there are exceptional circumstances which relate to the offence or the offender that would make it unjust in all the circumstances to do so. For further information see Imposition of community and custodial sentences.

A suspended sentence MUST NOT be imposed as a more severe form of community order. A suspended sentence is a custodial sentence.

Low Medium High
Offences only just cross community order threshold, where the seriousness of the offence or the nature of the offender’s record means that a discharge or fine is inappropriate

In general, only one requirement will be appropriate and the length may be curtailed if additional requirements are necessary

Offences that obviously fall within the community order band Offences only just fall below the custody threshold or the custody threshold is crossed but a community order is more appropriate in the circumstances

More intensive sentences which combine two or more requirements may be appropriate

Suitable requirements might include:

  • Any appropriate rehabilitative requirement(s)
  • 40 – 80 hours of unpaid work
  • Curfew  requirement within the lowest range (for example up to 16 hours per day for a few weeks)
  • Exclusion requirement, for a few months
  • Prohibited activity requirement
  • Attendance centre requirement (where available)
Suitable requirements might include:

  • Any appropriate rehabilitative requirement(s)
  • Greater number of hours of unpaid work (for example 80 – 150 hours)
  • Curfew requirement within the middle range (for example up to 16 hours for 2 – 3 months)
  • Exclusion requirement lasting in the region of 6 months
  • Prohibited activity requirement
Suitable requirements might include:

  • Any appropriate rehabilitative requirement(s)
  • 150 – 300 hours of unpaid work
  • Curfew requirement for example up to 16 hours per day for 4 – 12 months
  • Exclusion requirement lasting in the region of 12 months

* If order does not contain a punitive requirement, suggested fine levels are indicated below:

BAND A FINE

BAND B FINE

BAND C FINE

The court should then consider adjustment for any aggravating or mitigating factors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of additional factual elements providing the context of the offence and factors relating to the offender. Identify whether any combination of these, or other relevant factors, should result in an upward or downward adjustment from the sentence arrived at so far.

Factors increasing seriousness

Statutory aggravating factors

  • Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
  • Offence committed whilst on bail
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating hostility based on any of the following characteristics or presumed characteristics: religion, race, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity

Other aggravating factors

  • Presence of children
  • Offence committed on licence or post sentence supervision

Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation

  • Remorse
  • Admissions to police in interview
  • Ready co-operation with authorities
  • Minimal disturbance caused
  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
  • Mental disorder or learning disability

Step 3 – Consider any factors which indicate a reduction, such as assistance to the prosecution

The court should take into account sections 73 and 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (assistance by defendants: reduction or review of sentence) and any other rule of law by virtue of which an offender may receive a discounted sentence in consequence of assistance given (or offered) to the prosecutor or investigator.

Step 4 – Reduction for guilty pleas

The court should take account of any potential reduction for a guilty plea in accordance with section 144 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the guideline for Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea (where first hearing is on or after 1 June 2017, or first hearing before 1 June 2017).

Step 5 – Totality principle

If sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or where the offender is already serving a sentence, consider whether the total sentence is just and proportionate to the overall offending behaviour in accordance with the Totality guideline.

Step 6 – Compensation and ancillary orders

In all cases, the court should consider whether to make compensation and/or other ancillary orders, including a football banning order.

Step 7 – Reasons

Section 174 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty to give reasons for, and explain the effect of, the sentence.