A new pilot scheme between Leeds United and British Transport Police means football fans can be punished twice for simply reported ‘anti-social behaviour’ on public transport even if it’s away from the ground – the future of modern football
Football supporters caught committing crimes while travelling to or from Leeds United games by train could face a life ban from the club.
The club and British Transport Police (BTP) have joined forces to tackle the “small minority” of supporters who cause trouble on trains and at stations.
A new agreement will now mean that any fan who is reported, arrested, fined or convicted of an offence whilst travelling to or from Leeds United fixtures on the railway network may now be penalised by the club itself.
Penalties can range from fans having their account with the club suspended or their season ticket withdrawn, to match bans or even a life ban, depending on the offence.
The scheme applies to both home and away supporters travelling to Elland Road, as well as those using the rail network to watch Leeds United play away from home.
It is the first of its kind to be introduced by British Transport Police and a Yorkshire football club relating to offences on the railway network, though West Yorkshire Police already have a similar agreement for those caught misbehaving outside the ground.
Inspector Pete Kooper from BTP said: “It’s great that we are now linking in with Leeds United to all work towards one goal, which is to show football-related crime and anti-social behaviour on the rail network the red card.
“We welcome football fans onto the rail network and work hard with the rail industry and the clubs to make sure fans get to the match, safely, securely and on time.
“The vast majority of travelling fans are a credit to their club and cause no issues. Sadly, however, a small minority of supporters do engage in anti social behaviour and can be intent on causing trouble and it is these people we are intent on targeting working closely with the club.”
To mark the new approach, stewards from Leeds United will be out and about with officers at Leeds station ahead of the club’s Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday to meet and greet supporters.
Photo courtesy of South Stand SS5: http://www.southstandss5.co.uk/