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Football arrests reach eight-year high in ‘extremely worrying’ new figures

Football arrests reached their highest level for eight years last season while pitch invasions more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels, new data from the Home Office shows.

The 2021-22 statistics for matches played in England and Wales make grim reading for the football authorities and law enforcement agencies, and follow a campaign which was marred by players being assaulted by pitch-invading fans.

A custodial sentence was imposed on a Leicester fan who assaulted three Nottingham Forest players during an FA Cup match in February, while a Forest fan was given a 24-week jail term and a 10-year banning order for headbutting Sheffield United player Billy Sharp during a Championship play-off match in May.

Robert Biggs court case

Robert Biggs was jailed and given a 10-year banning order for headbutting Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp (Handout from Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

There were pitch invasions and confrontations at other end-of-season games too, and the 441 matches where a pitch invasion was recorded represented a 127 per cent increase on the figure for the 2018-19 season, the last full campaign to be played without any Covid-19 restrictions.



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