DERBY day clashes and the outbreak of fighting inside Wembley Stadium last weekend does not mark a return to the “bad old days” of football violence, the Sport Minister told the Commons today.
Hugh Robertson said everyone had been shocked by Newcastle fans clashing with police and fighting between Millwall supporters at Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.
The violence was the worst seen at the new Wembley Stadium and has led to some calls inside football for late kick-off times to be reviewed.
Answering a question from Labour’s Ian Lavery, Mr Robertson said: “I don’t think there is anyone who would do anything other than condemn the scenes we saw both on Saturday and then again on Sunday.
“I don’t think, incidentally, this marks a return to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s – I think huge progress has been made but clearly there is an issue there and one that needs to be addressed.
“We are waiting for the results of investigations by police and football authorities... if action needs to be taken, this Government will take it.”
Mr Lavery had asked: “This week we have seen the re-emergence of soccer violence in the UK and the result of that is hooligans will be banned if convicted from league grounds.
“They are not congregating in non-league grounds where the banning orders don’t exist. Will you have a look at extending banning orders to non-league grounds?”