THE police will be keeping watch at Bristol International Airport to make sure no football hooligans fly out for England’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Friday.
Roy Hodgson’s side run out at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle and normal controls will be in place when it comes to fans who already have court-imposed restrictions.
Anyone subject to a football banning order (FBO) was ordered to surrender their passport by March 1, preventing them from travelling overseas unless they have an exemption.
Up to 2,600 fans are expected to travel from the UK to the game. There is no direct flight from Bristol to Rimini – the nearest airport to Serravalle – but there are direct flights to Rome and Venice, both of which are about four hours from San Marino.
Even people who are not travelling to the match could still receive a banning order if they get involved in trouble, including any violence or disorder while watching the game on TV in a pub.
The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has graded the game as medium risk and everyone planning to travel to the game will be vetted by police and airport officials.
Avon and Somerset’s airport police commander, Insp Barney Gardom, said: “Our operation has a dual purpose – to prevent known football hooligans from travelling out of the UK and to reassure genuine fans travelling to support their national team, as well as others flying out of the airport.
“Our operation is based on information and intelligence. We work closely with football league clubs in the force area, neighbouring police forces, the Home Office and the UKFPU.”