This afternoon we welcome the supporters, officials and playing staff of Lincoln City to the Abbey Stadium. In particular I welcome Alan Long the clubs SLO who helps me and offers support and guidance
Cambridge United do not want any supporters being banned from matches for making a one-off mistake. However, the rules over the summer following the behaviour of some supporters at other clubs and their implications have changed immensely.
Over the years many thousands of fans have entered onto the pitch with nothing but good intentions in a moment of celebration. But in the eyes of the law that doesn’t matter – it’s illegal and the law won’t discriminate. You may get a long club ban, a criminal record and a Football Banning Order (FBO).
There’s an important distinction to be made between clubs bans and FBOs. The former is, in effect, a private business banning you from their premises. A waste of a season ticket, and you’ll not see your team in person for a period of time.
FBOs are very serious and can be imposed by a court following conviction. If you get an FBO you may have to periodically surrender your passport on matchdays and be banned from your team’s city centre. This means not being able to go shopping on a Saturday or abroad for a holiday because you once ran onto the pitch? It has happened
When individual supporters are charged with pitch incursions, it is against the law, and yes, it can affect your employment and educational opportunities.
It’s also worth noting that, while there might have been a tradition of celebratory incursions in decades past, many of those took place before it was a criminal offence to enter the pitch.
Other measures discussed relate to alcohol sales around grounds or having netting laid out across the first few rows. Both are possible outcomes which will make watching football worse. And that’s before you even get to option like full stadium closures or points deductions.
Not every fan will agree with this but if they don’t take notice and enter the field of play, they are responsible for the negative consequences that may follow. And sadly, the majority of fans in the stands would suffer from the actions of a minority on the pitch.
There’s also been incidents concerning the letting off of smoke bombs. Some supporters feel they add to the experience, atmosphere and spectacle of matches. As with going onto the pitch letting off a flare is a criminal offence. Possession of a smoke bomb or flare is itself a crime even if attempting to enter a stadium with one. This can also include possession en route to the match. The law doesn’t actually distinguish between smoke bombs, flares or fireworks either.
There are regular instances of supporters being prosecuted in court, then given three year Football Banning Orders, as well as bans handed out by the clubs themselves.
During the summer Cambridge United has had to install new cameras around the ground. They are now able to track events and record them for playing back later and possibly being used in any future prosecution. Please don’t take the risk.
We want you supporting the team inside the stadium and not from outside.
Match day programmes can be ordered after the match by clicking here Programmes
I am the SLO @ Cambridge United. This page will provide information concerning match days for both sets of supporters.