Football fans convicted of taking or selling class A drugs at games will face a five-year ban from attending matches, the government has announced.
The new rules, set to be announced by Policing Minister Kit Malthouse on Thursday, come as part of the government’s bid to stop violence and disorder at sports matches.
They include the possibility that anyone convicted could be ordered to surrender their passports when their football team is playing abroad.
The government hopes the new measures will prevent disorder like that seen at the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley last July.
Ahead of the announcement, Boris Johnson said that “middle-class coke heads” are driving crime across the UK.
“Middle-class coke heads should stop kidding themselves, their habit is feeding a war on our streets driving misery and crime across our country and beyond,” the Prime Minister said.
“That’s why we are stepping up our efforts to make sure those who break the law face the full consequences – because taking illegal drugs is never a victimless crime.”
Mr Malthouse said that the police are more frequently finding that class A drugs are “at the heart” of disorder at football matches.
“It’s been a thrilling football season, but at some games we’ve seen ugly violence that that has shocked all the leagues”, he said.
“More and more the police are finding class A drugs at the heart of that disorder and so we must act. The football family wants every ground to be a safe space for fans, especially children, and so do we.”
Such bans have been successful in the past, according to Mr Malthouse, who added: “Football banning orders have been a game-changer in rooting out racism and violence at football, and now we want them to do the same for drug-related disorder.
“The government is determined to drive down drug use and bring home to all who take them that drugs bring consequences.”
The National Police Chief’s Council has backed the move.
NPCC Football lead Mark Roberts said: “I am pleased the government has updated the Football Banning Order legislation to counter the growing issues of disorder we have seen, in part driven by the use of Class A drugs.
“Policing and football authorities all support this measure and it is an important step in ensuring that the use of drugs at football is tackled so the majority of fans, particularly those with families, can enjoy themselves without suffering anti-social behaviour and violence.
“The UKFPU (The UK Football Policing Unit) will be coordinating activity with police forces and clubs from the start of next season to ensure that we make the best use of this legislation to target the use of drugs at football.”