The shocking scale of criminal and anti-social behavior at matches in England and Wales was exposed in data released by the Home Office on Thursday.
A total of 2,198 football-related arrests were made last season – the highest figure for a single campaign in the last eight years.
This number represents a 59% increase on 2018-19 (1,381 arrests), which was the last full campaign with fans in stadiums before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The data paints a depressing picture for the domestic game, with incidents reported in 1,609 of the 3,019 games played in England and Wales last season, or 53%.
In 2018-19, incidents were reported in 1,007 games, equivalent to one-third of games played.
There were 441 pitch invasions reported last season – a staggering 127% increase from the 2018-19 campaign – and 384 hate crime incidents, a 99% increase.
The most reported types of incidents were pyrotechnics (729 matches where incidents were reported), missile launches (561) and incidents of public order or anti-social behavior involving young supporters (444).
A total of 2,198 football-related arrests were made in England and Wales last season
Since 2015, football-related arrests have followed a downward trend, but the numbers have now risen worryingly.
West Ham supporters were the worst offenders, with 95 Hammers-related arrests. Next come Manchester City (76), Manchester United (72), Leicester (59) and Everton (58).
There has also been an increase in arrests at international fixtures compared to pre-Covid levels. 38 have been achieved in England and Wales national team matches in 2021-22, including three at the European Women’s Championships.
This is an increase of 111% on the 18 arrests in national team matches in 2018-19, but down from the 92 made in 2020-21 – although this figure was heavily influenced by the 90 that took place at Euro 2020.
The number of restraining orders in England and Wales has continued to fall, with 1,308 in place at the end of last season – down from 1,359 last year and 2,731 a decade ago.