Love football. Protect the game.
After the FA, Premier League and EFL joined together to introduce new measures and stronger sanctions regarding the importance of a safe matchday environment, Swansea City is urging supporters to not use pyrotechnics ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season.
The Swans kick off the campaign with a trip to the New York Stadium to take on Rotherham United this Saturday – just 84 days after the 2021-22 season came to an end.
Being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match, or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985.
From the start of the 2022-23 season, anyone 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.
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.
It isn’t just the lasting damage that supporters can do to one another which should be a deterrent. Supporters can be prosecuted in court and then given a football banning order if found guilty. However, in some instances, a custodial sentence can be given, depending on the nature and severity of the incident.
“These items are banned, and they are illegal,” explained Scott O’Kelly, station manager at the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
“Punishments for bringing them into the stadium could include being stopped from going into the game or being ejected from the stadium, and you could be handed an indefinite stadium ban.
“There could also be criminal charges brought against you. In 2013, two Chelsea fans were imprisoned for 28 days for trying to bring smoke bombs into the Swansea.com Stadium.
“You could even end up going to prison for manslaughter because, unfortunately, people have lost their lives because of pyrotechnics in stadiums.”
Scott added that supporters should try to move at least five meters away from the unpredictable and life-threating devices if they spot them in the stadium.
It’s also important that supporters avoid trying to pick them up and alert a member of the stewarding team as quickly as possible
“First message would be to move away. Please leave it to the staff who have proper protective equipment and are trained,” he said.
“The other message would be to think about other people and the damage you can do. People might be injured by your actions - try to keep everyone safe.”
Swansea City supporter Callum Williams is urging his fellow members of the Jack Army to ditch pyrotechnics at games after he was hospitalised by a flare at our away trip to West Brom back in February this year.
The 17-year-old suffered serious burns to his hand, which left him hospitalised and needing daily treatment for weeks.
The pyrotechnic had been on a collision course for Callum’s face and it was instinct which meant he raised his hand to hit away the object, which can burn at up to 2000 degrees.
“I just started screaming because the pain was just too much,” recalls Callum.
“I called my mum and I was on the phone to her the whole way back home. I asked if she could ring one of my mates so they could get me to the hospital quicker.
“[My friend] came to pick me up and took me to the hospital. I was there for about two hours. They bandaged it up and I had to keep going back every day.”
Thankfully, Callum was able to make a speedy recovery, but it could have been so very different.
Swansea City is wholly supportive of the FA, Premier League and EFL’s campaign and as a club we will take a firm stance against any supporter(s) who is found to be in possession of pyrotechnics either at the Swansea.com Stadium or when we play away from home.