Rise in bans for young hooligans
Incidents of football hooliganism involving young people have almost trebled in the past three years.
There were 103 incidents involving youths last season, compared with just 38 in 2007/08, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said.
More than 280 teenagers were banned from football grounds at the end of August, making up almost 10% of the 3,059 people on football banning orders. The youngest was just 13, with the oldest being 71, the figures showed.
But police chiefs said that while the trend was worrying, the rate of growth has considerably slowed and the number of violent incidents were a long way from the levels seen in the 1970s and 1980s.
Andy Holt, the Acpo lead on football policing, said: "If they're engaging in football-related disorder at an earlier age, then we're going to be stuck with that sort of behaviour potentially for some while.
"So it is something that we are acutely aware of. People are coming through and engaging in football disorder who perhaps weren't around in the heyday of football violence 15-20 years ago.
"So it is a worrying trend that the younger element are starting to pick up on this sort of behaviour."
The Acpo figures showed 47% of the 221 reported incidents of football disorder last season involved youths, compared with 51% of 182 incidents the previous season and 33% of 114 incidents in 2007/08.