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Successfully defending football offence

Back in the old days, football grounds may have been places where anything went.  Those who strove for better words often ended up using four letter words. Now, understandably, people watching football have to be more careful or risk allegations of a football offence.

Things looked bad for a lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers  when he was arrested at the City Ground. Not only were Wolves a goal down but our client found himself in a police cell.

When Morgan Gibbs-White went down and claimed a penalty, our client was accused of shouting “get up” followed by a homophobic slur. Morgan Gibbs-White being a fair distance away.  However two policemen claimed to have heard the shout and our client was arrested for disorderly conduct.

VHS Fletchers were able to help having been contacted as Duty Solicitor. Experienced criminal defence solicitor Helen Lees, attended to provide representation at the 2am police interview.  Our client was advised and gave a full explanation setting our what he actually shouted.

Not guilty to football offence

football offencesHe was charged with public order offence of disorderly conduct.  The prosecution was seeking  a three year Football Banning Order on conviction.  This would not only prohibit our client from watching any League Football for three years, but would have caused inconvenience whenever the England Team played abroad.  He would have had to surrender his passport in advance of any such game.

The prosecution guidance in relation to prosecuting football related offences can be found here.

Fortunately, one of our football law lawyers, Jim Buckley, was able to secure an acquittal at trial. In cross-examination the arresting officer accepted that in amongst a crowd of 28,000 people at a distance of 12 metres away he could not rule out having misheard the alleged abusive word.

A moral to draw may be not to shout anything that could be misinterpreted as abuse when at a football match.  If you make that mistake, don’t compound it by failing to seek free and independent legal advice in police interview.

Instruct an expert in defending football offences

You can read more about our football offence lawyers here.

Seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity will allow us to provide advice to you about the law and the evidence in either a police investigation or a prosecution.

If you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about any criminal allegation make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.  We will be present in your interview to advise through the investigation stage.

The advantages of such early advice legal advice can be found here.


If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.

Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.


We have offices across the East Midlands and will happily travel across the country to provide representation for all types of offences.

football offences lawyers
Our offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.



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