Fears over travel ban on football suspects

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Indy Politics

Police are to be given permanent powers to ban suspected football hooligans from travelling abroad to prevent violence at England games.

A Home Office Bill will allow the police to ban potential troublemakers from going to matches overseas even if they have not been convicted of football-related offences. The Bill, which had its second reading yesterday and is designed to come into effect before next year's World Cup finals in Korea and Japan, will be opposed in its current form by politicians and civil liberties groups.

The Liberal Democrats plan amendments so that only people with a criminal record of causing disruption at football matches can be stopped from following the national team. If the Government refuses to agree, the party will call for the new law to be revised every five years. "We don't like the idea that you can have banning orders without evidence," said Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman. "You shouldn't allow people to be prevented from travelling abroad simply on the basis of suspicion."

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