In the 2021/2022 Premier League season, there were a series of new intrigues that match day spectators introduced into the matchday experience which will not be tolerated in the 2022/2023 Premier League Season.
Last season, matchday spectators were fond of using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics during live games. They didn’t only use it on the stands, some of them went as far as throwing the pyrotechnics on the pitch before, during, and after the final whistle.
Aside from that, some fans were fond of throwing objects onto the pitch, from plastic bottles to balloons especially when the game is not going in their favor. It has become so dramatic that even from kick-off of matches, some spectators would throw balloons onto the pitch for no known reason.
The height of it was the trend of fans invading the pitch at the slightest provocation or any given event. Some spectators have been seen invading the pitch in an attempt to use the live coverage of the match to promote their ideologies.
On the other hand, towards the end of the 2021/2022 Premier League season, fans invaded the pitch in mass to celebrate with their clubs’ players when they survive relegation or win a title.
For instance, when Everton escaped relegation in the 37th game of the Premier League season, the club’s fans at Goodison Park could not control themselves and had to invade the pitch to show how excited they were that their team survived the scare.
Even when Manchester City won the 2021/2022 Premier League title on the last day of the league campaign, the club’s fans stormed the pitch to celebrate with the players and the club’s coach Pep Guardiola.
Pep's in tears, the fans are swarming the Etihad pitch and Man City are confirmed Premier League champions!— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) May 22, 2022
Peter Drury, take it away 👏 pic.twitter.com/Ent11eAwLG
This practice didn’t only dominate the Premier League, it spread across every cadre of English club football competitions at an alarming rate.
Hence, ahead of the 2022/2023 Premier League season which will kick off on August 5, 2022, the English Football Association and other stakeholders are working on stringent rules to prevent such trends from being a norm in the English football environment.
What are the punishments for fans who misbehave during 2022/2023 Premier League season?
According to a statement released on the official website of a Premier League club, Wolverhampton Wanderer, “English football has come together to toughen measures addressing fan behavior at matches” ahead of the 2022/2023 Premier League season.
In the statement, Wolves noted that the FA, Premier League, and EFL would introduce “stronger sanctions” to tackle the increased anti-social and criminal behaviors of some spectators at match venues which “underline the importance of a safe matchday environment”.
“The new set of actions, which will be implemented across all English football leagues from the start of season 2022/2023 and backed by the Football Supporters Association, will target activity such as entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics and throwing objects – as well as drug use and discriminatory behavior”, the statement read.
“From the start of Season 2022/23, all identified offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which may affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence. The FA will also be enforcing a tougher charging and sanctioning policy for clubs, which will reinforce these measures.
“Furthermore, anyone who enters the pitch and those identified carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs will now receive an automatic club ban. These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in these activities.”
In the statement, Wolves insisted that the misbehavior of some supporters in the 2021/2022 season did not represent the majority of supporters in the country. Hence, the 2022-2023 Premier League season would see a huge fight against undisciplined supporters.
“To further support this action, The FA, Premier League, and EFL are working with police forces, the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU), and the Crown Prosecution Service to establish a new principle for cases relating to pyrotechnics and smoke bombs, as well as entering the pitch without permission”, the statement added.
“This will mean cooperating to achieve a prosecution in these cases will become the default response of the football authorities and criminal justice system, sending an unambiguous message to all who break the law.
“Other measures to be implemented include working with clubs to enhance search regimes and increased use of sniffer dogs at grounds.”