Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Football banning orders could be extended to Gaelic games and rugby

Football banning orders could be extended to the GAA and rugby if the sporting codes request it, the Justice Minister has said.

The new power to allow a court to ban individuals from matches came into force on January 1, but applies only to soccer.

But David Ford said it could be extended to Gaelic games and rugby if their governing bodies of the sports asked for it.

"Football banning orders provide the police and the courts with the power to stop someone whose actions have resulted in violence going to or from a match from attending another game in Northern Ireland for up to 10 years," said the Justice Minister.

"They should be seen as part of a package of measures we have put in place to make sporting events safer for spectators and more family-friendly.

"We have already commenced legislation preventing the possession of alcohol on special transport going to football grounds. This also applies to GAA and rugby as well.

"It sits alongside powers prohibiting supporters from pitch invasion, missile throwing and offensive chanting.

"If the sporting authorities from GAA or rugby request the extension of banning orders to their sport, this is something I will consider."

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