(Reuters) – Members of a British parliamentary group have called for women’s soccer to be brought under legislation that allows police to arrest spectators who break the law and ban them from attending games.
In a letter addressed to sports minister Nigel Huddleston, eight MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Football said they were “shocked” that, unlike men’s football, the women’s game was not covered by the Football (Offences) Order.
The issue is in the spotlight after Chelsea striker Sam Kerr barged into a pitch invader during last week’s women’s Champions League game against Juventus.
British media reported that the Metropolitan Police did not arrest the intruder.
“Given the growth of the professional women’s game, this is enormously worrying,” the letter read.
“We strongly urge you to consider an immediate change to the legislation to ensure that professional women’s football is listed as a designated match, thus bringing parity of protection to female footballers afforded to their male counterparts.”
The Telegraph quoted a Home Office spokesperson as saying in a statement that the legislation covers women’s Champions League and international matches.
“Football banning order legislation covers both women’s and men’s designated matches where there is a high risk of disorder,” the statement said.
“Matches are designated based on the history of incidents and the assessment of risk. Where matches are not designated, they are subject to generic public order legislation that applies to them as well as other sporting events.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)