- West Ham supporters top the list with 89 arrests during the season.
- Total football-related arrests amounted to 2,264, the highest since 2013/14.
- Despite the rise, arrest rate stands at 0.005%, given a combined match attendance of 45.4 million.
- Hate crime incidents at football matches saw a decline.
- Banning orders increased, with 682 new ones issued.
Overview of Football-Related Arrests
For the 2022/23 season, West Ham supporters again led the tally in football-related arrests, as recorded by the Home Office. Out of the total 2,264 arrests across the top five divisions in England and Wales, West Ham fans were responsible for 89 of them. This season saw a surge, with an increase of 66 arrests from the previous season.
Football-related arrests have risen to a nine-year high, the Home Office have confirmed.
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) September 28, 2023
Incidents in Perspective
To give context to the arrest figures, there were a staggering 45.4 million attendees at football matches during the season. The arrest rate, therefore, translates to a mere 0.005%. As for West Ham, 27 of their arrests were for public disorder, and 23 for throwing missiles.
While West Ham topped the chart, other clubs weren’t far behind. Manchester United recorded 83 arrests, Leeds United 69, and Manchester City 66, to name a few. The Home Office did note a 6% decrease in matches with reported incidents from the previous season, which is a silver lining.
— Baz Cooper (@bazdjcooper) September 28, 2023
Notable Incidents of the Season
The season did see its share of high-profile cases. A notable one involved a Tottenham supporter, Joseph Watts, who attacked Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale. Watts faced a ban from attending any football stadiums in Britain for four years, accompanied by community service and fines. Another incident saw a Leeds fan jailed for assaulting Newcastle manager Eddie Howe.
Comparative Arrest Figures Over the Years
To appreciate the data’s significance, let’s look at past seasons:
- 2013/14 saw 2,273 arrests, closely mirroring this season’s 2,264.
- The figures dipped to 1,089 in 2019/20 and significantly dropped to 116 in 2020/21 due to the pandemic.
- The subsequent season, 2021/22, saw a rebound to 2,198 arrests.
Football-related arrests during the 2022-23 season surged! Drug possession now an offense under the Football Spectators Act caused a staggering 2264 arrests, with 200 linked to drugs & 101 to the World Cup. Banning orders skyrocketed too, hitting a de… pic.twitter.com/gZJmhFGaAZ
— topcrnr (@topcrnr) September 28, 2023
Trends in Hate Crimes and Banning Orders
On a positive note, hate crime incidents during matches fell, with 370 reported incidents, down from 384 in the previous season. However, there’s more work to be done, as religious hate crimes and disability hate crimes saw an uptick.
Banning orders were another metric on the rise, with 682 new orders issued last season. This marks the highest since 2011, when 960 were issued.
Note: For a detailed breakdown of arrests by club, please refer to the official Home Office report.
Football, with its passionate followers, is more than just a game for many. While these figures underline some areas of concern, the overall context and relative rarity of incidents, especially when measured against the vast number of attendees, is heartening. Efforts will surely continue to ensure safety and sportsmanship in future seasons.