Football arrests on the rise

Arrests at football matches have risen for the first time in four years, figures show, with Manchester United and Chelsea leading the way.

The number of fans arrested for all types of football-related offences in England and Wales rose 8 percent to 3,788 in 2006/7 compared with the previous year.

It was the first rise since 2002/03 when 3,373 people were arrested.

The government said the increase reflected a tougher police approach to antisocial and disorderly behaviour.

The clubs with the most fans arrested were Manchester United with 192, Chelsea with 135 and Sunderland with 119.

Arrests for public disorder leapt to 1,659 from 1,329.

Football attendances increased by 5 percent during the past year to 39 million.

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The 3,788 arrests represented 0.01 percent of spectators at domestic and international games, the Home Office said.

Arrests for racist chanting were down 25 percent at 41, the lowest level on record.

The number of arrests for throwing missiles rose from 68 to 97 after a police crackdown at the beginning of the season.

Among the clubs whose supporters have received the highest number of banning orders during the past year were Leeds United, Cardiff City, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Swansea City.

The Home Office said though that more than 40 percent of all matches were police-free.

"Football violence and disorder has no place in the modern game and we are determined to crack down on those who attempt to ruin the sport for all football fans," said Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker.

"These figures reflect another season of successful partnership work with the police, football authorities, clubs and fans' associations."

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