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English yobs to be kept at home

More than 3,000 English football hooligans will be banned from travelling to South Africa for the World Cup, the British government confirmed today.

Measures to stop troublemakers who are currently barred from matches from going to the tournament this summer will be passed in the House of Commons in the coming weeks, according to the British Home Office.

The step will allow British home secretary Alan Johnson to impose a "control period" on approximately 3,200 hooligans who are currently subject to banning orders.

Banning orders prevent hooligans from attending football matches in England and mean they have to surrender their passports to police before international football matches.

But in order to apply the sanction for the month-long duration of the World Cup, the home secretary has to lay a statutory instrument before parliament, a Home Office spokesman said.

The powers are part of the process where officials try to prevent England fans from being able to cause trouble during international events.

"Football banning orders have proved highly effective in preventing known-risk fans from travelling overseas to football matches," the spokesman said.

"The behaviour of English fans has improved dramatically in recent years. However, there is no complacency."

Figures released by the Home Office last month revealed the number of football hooligans arrested by the police fell last season.

There were 3,752 arrests at matches in England and Wales -- a fall of 2pc on the 2007-08 season. Half were for disorder and a third for alcohol offences. Other arrests were for ticket touting and violence.