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

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Everton v Liverpool – Premier League – Goodison Park

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

The 2021-22 statistics for games played in England and Wales make grim reading for football authorities and law enforcement, and follow a campaign that has been marred by players assaulted by intrusive fans.

A custodial sentence was handed down to a Leicester fan who assaulted three Nottingham Forest players during an FA Cup match in February, while a Forest fan was handed a 24-day prison sentence weeks and a 10-year banning order for headbutting Sheffield United player Billy Sharp during a Championship play-off in May.

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

There were also pitch invasions and clashes in other season-ending games, and the 441 games where a pitch invasion was recorded represented a 127% 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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