REVEALED: 129 South Yorkshire football hooligans BANNED from attending World Cup in Russia
A total of 129 South Yorkshire football hooligans have been banned from attending the World Cup in Russia this summer amid fears of clashes between rival fans.
Soccer yobs in the county have been sent letters from the UK Football Policing Unit ordering them to surrender their passports to police stations ahead of the tournament's kick off on Thursday, June 14.
The move comes as Mark Roberts, South Yorkshire Police's deputy chief constable and the National Police Chiefs’ Council national football policing lead, warned there will be a zero tolerance policy towards violent disorder.
In a blog, he said: "It’s hard to forget the scenes from Marseilles during Euro 2016. We witnessed some of the worst football violence in recent years.
"This isn’t what football tournaments should be about. There is no excuse for violence, disorder or anti-social behaviour at football matches and the World Cup is no exception."
A number of sinister videos have emerged online from Russian hooligans - who clashed with England supporters two years ago leaving dozens injured - threatening visiting fans.
One innocent England fan, who witnessed first-hand the trouble in France, said he hopes the authorities clampdown on hooligans.
The Sheffield man, aged in his 20s, said: "I saw the aftermath of a couple of England fans who were beaten up quite badly on the way to the stadium and we witnessed the horror inside the ground when Russian hooligans went on the rampage when they eqaulised. It was horrible.
"I do think there won't be as much trouble as two years ago. There'll be lots of genuine Russian supporters who will not cause trouble and all eyes will be on how the Russian authorities will handle any clashes and they'll be aware of that."
The Home Office said about 1, 900 yobs nationwide are subject to travel bans.
A Freedom of Information request in October last year revealed Barnsley FC tops the local league of shame for the highest number of fans with banning orders with 44. Sheffield United were next with 32, followed by Sheffield Wednesday (17), Rotherham United (12) and Doncaster Rovers (11).
A number of further bans have been imposed since those figures were released. Several Sheffield United fans received banning orders in May for disorder caused before and after a game against Grimsby Town in July 2016.
In comparison with other regions, there are currently 51 banned people in Derbyshire and 214 in the West Midlands.
Deputy chief con Roberts has travelled to Russia for meetings with organisers to discuss security concerns - and he gave reassurances that everything is being done to minimise trouble.
"Our role in Russia will be to support the authorities by providing intelligence, identifying known risk supporters, engaging with UK fans and advising the local police on appropriate tactics with visiting supporters.
"We want Russia to be remembered for the right reasons."