01/08/2011

Sports' Troublemakers To Face Jail

Sectarian chanting, or even staging a 'pitch invasion' at a soccer match is to attract a fine of up to £1,000.

Possession of fireworks or flares at a match may also mean a sentence of imprisonment of up to three months as new laws to improve spectator behaviour at major sporting events come into force today.

The Stormont Minister of Justice David Ford (pictured) said that the offences for indecent or sectarian chanting and pitch invasion have been commenced as part of a legislative package to create a more welcoming and family friendly environment at games.

Other provisions from the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 introduced include the offence of throwing missiles on to a pitch and the possession of alcohol on hired transport on the way to major events.

David Ford said: "These new laws demonstrate my commitment to make sporting events more family friendly.

"The three sporting associations - rugby, football and the GAA - have invested a great deal in making their major sporting events memorable for all the right reasons.
News Image
"However there still can be times when the actions of a few can spoil it for the majority of fans and this new legislation allows the law to deal with those individuals," he said, adding his thanks to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, the sporting associations and SportNI for their support in the drafting of the legislation and that the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 received Royal Assent on 4 May 2011 and that it's provisions come into effect today.

Also included is the offence of throwing an article capable of causing injury; possessing fireworks or flares at a match which can attract a sentence of imprisonment of up to three months; and the offence of possessing alcohol on private hire vehicles on the way to sporting events which can also attract a sentence of imprisonment of up to three months.

The private vehicle operator can also be fined up to £2,500 for permitting alcohol onto the vehicle.

Welcomed

The Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn has welcomed the laws introduced by his party leader, the Justice Minister David Ford, to tackle sectarianism and disorder at major sporting events, which came into operation today, saying they are a key part of helping build a shared future.

"These laws are extremely important as they will help crack down on sectarianism and disorder at major sporting events.

"The introduction of these measures sends out a very strong message that sport is for all. Alliance has been working for a long time to have these types of laws introduced and it is very pleasing that our Leader David Ford has been the person to carry this through.

"This is a good day for sport here and a good day for people who want to see a genuinely shared future in Northern Ireland. I am very pleased that the laws are now in place to help sport give sectarianism and trouble the red card," he said.

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 April 2018
Three Arrested After Viable Bomb Found In Strabane
Three men have been arrested after a viable bomb was found during a security alert in Strabane. The discovery was made at a property in the Drumrallagh estate on Sunday, 29 April. Around 10 homes had to be evacuated during the alert which was being carried out as part of a police investigation into violent dissident republican activity.
30 April 2018
Three Men Injured During Aggravated Burglary In Bessbrook
Police have issued an appeal for information following an aggravated burglary at a house in Wakefield Terrace in Bessbrook on Saturday, 28 April. Between 1.30am and 1.45am two masked men – one armed with a hammer and the other a chain – forced their way into the house and assaulted three male occupants.
17 May 2018
DfI To Appeal Decision Over Controversial Incinerator Project
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is to appeal a judge's decision over a planning application for the controversial incinerator project. The proposed arc21 Residual Waste Treatment facility in Mallusk, Co Antrim, was blocked by the High Court on Monday, 14 May.
02 May 2018
Universal Credit To Be Introduced In Downpatrick And Newry
Universal Credit is to be introduced in the Downpatrick and Newry areas from Wednesday, 16 May. Universal Credit replaces six existing benefits with one and is for people of working age, from 18 until state pension age. It is initially for new claimants in the local area.
18 May 2018
More Than 24,000 Parking Fines Issued In Belfast
More than 24,000 parking fines were issued in the first three months of 2018, according to the latest figures from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).
06 October 2017
Belfast To Host Major International Conference In 2021
Belfast is set to host a major international conference in 2021 after a successful pitch led by Professor Brian Falzon from Queen's University Belfast. The conference win was announced in the Chinese city of X'ian, where Professor Falzon fended off competition from Venice, New Orleans and Luasanne in Switzerland.
08 April 2009
Maze Stadium Plan Officially 'Dead'
The Maze Stadium plan is officially cancelled. The Stormont Executive's First Minister and Deputy First Minister today announced that the mooted MLK Masterplan won't now proceed in its original proposed form.
31 October 2006
Sports and political parties unite over Maze stadium plan
The Maze/Long Kesh monitoring group has today had its first face to face meeting with representatives from the three main sports bodies in Northern Ireland. The event was hosted by David Hanson MP, Minister responsible for the development of the former prison site.
09 May 2018
Dept Of Health Announces Major Investment To Enhance Primary Care
A series of important initiatives are to be funded under the £100 million Health and Social Care transformation fund, the Department of Health has announced. The planned package of investments for 2018/19 includes £15m for enhancing primary care – care which is largely provided by GP practices.
03 May 2018
Two Major Road Improvement Schemes Announced
The Department for Infrastructure has announced details of two major road improvement schemes in Ballygowan and Newtownards. A £230,000 road improvement scheme on the C272 Carrickmannon Road and C367 Church Hill, Ballygowan will begin on Tuesday, 08 May.
16 December 2011
Offshore Renewable Energy Progresses
Two parallel leasing rounds for offshore wind and tidal stream development as new sources of renewable energy for Northern Ireland have been announced by The Crown Estate. It is seeking expressions of interest from private sector developers for offshore wind and tidal stream Leasing Rounds in NI waters.
19 October 2011
Derry Sports Centre Given Green Light
A multi-million pound plan to upgrade the leisure facilities in Londonderry's Waterside has been approved after a meeting with Derry City Council's Development Committee. The plans will see a new sports campus constructed at St Columb's Park in a bid to move various sporting interests to one site.
14 May 2018
Approval For £240m Mallusk Waste Facility 'Unlawful' - Judge
A High Court judge has ruled that the approval for a new £240 million waste incinerator at Mallusk was unlawful. Full planning permission for the controversial facility to be built in north Belfast was granted to waste management group Arc 21 in September last year.
29 July 2011
NI Beaten In 2012 Olympic Race
The NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is encouraging more companies to explore business opportunities offered by global sporting events - even though NI has been accused of 'dropping the ball' on the commercial Olympic race.
01 July 2011
3D Experience Without Glasses For Northern Ireland Sports Fans
Belfast bar Lavery's will screen the heavyweight 'super-fight' between David Haye and Vladimir Klitschko and the Wimbledon men's final on a glasses-free 3D TV over a 3D sports weekend on July 2 - 3 2011.