A FOOTBALL fan has been awarded £3,750 in compensation after he was bitten by a police dog on his way to a match – and then slapped with an order banning him from being anywhere near the football ground he was visiting.
The 22-year-old Barnsley supporter, who has not been named, was attacked by the dog as he walked to Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground to watch Barnsley play the Blades in April last year.
He was also issued with a Section 27 Order, which allows police to ban people from a specified area for up to 48 hours if they are deemed at risk of becoming embroiled in alcohol-related disorder.
The footie fan said the dog attack happened after police prevented him from leaving a pub he had visited with his dad and two friends, in their 40s and 50s.
He was told officers wanted to accompany the 150-strong group of Barnsley supporters who had gathered in the pub to the ground.
The fan, who is a Barnsley season ticket holder, said he was pulled out of the group of Reds by police when Sheffield United fans began taunting them.
He insists he was never involved in any confrontation with rival fans.
His solicitor made claims for false imprisonment, assault, negligence and breach of human rights, and a settlement was awarded on that basis.
Before agreeing to the pay-out police had claimed the football fan was with a ‘gang of youths’ who ‘were obviously intent on violence’.
The fan said: “It’s definitely changed how I look at football and I’ve not been to many away games since. From the age of six I’ve been a season ticket holder and regular away match-goer. I went to the majority, but not now – I see it differently. I’m always looking over my shoulder and I only went to two away games last season.
“It’s been hard to explain to people that I hadn’t done anything wrong. If I was at the front of the group I could maybe have even understood – but I wasn’t, and I’ve never caused trouble.”
Darren White, from law firm Deighton Guedalla which represented him, said: “Unfortunately, this is a classic example of heavy handed policing at football matches and an attempt, when things go wrong from the police’s point of view, to use Section 27 completely inappropriately.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Derby matches can be highly charged but are usually good-natured affairs, with trouble caused only by a minority.
“South Yorkshire Police will continue to take whatever action is needed – including the use of Section 27 notices – to police such games in a bid to keep the majority of those attending safe.