Football: England violence arrests hit record low

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Arrests for football-related disorder in England and Wales hit a record low last season, official figures showed Friday, raising hopes the "English disease" of hooliganism was now firmly in the past.

Despite being credited as the home of "the beautiful game", English football suffered for years from violence between rival fans.

But in the 2010/2011 season, arrests were down nine percent to 3,089, the lowest figure since records began 27 years ago, according to statistics released by Britain's interior ministry.

There was an average of just one arrest per match, with no arrests at 70 percent of games, according to the figures for detentions of English and Welsh fans at international and domestic matches.

"Football policing is a real British success story," said crime prevention minister Oliver Eden in a statement.

"Where hooliganism was once described as 'the English disease', we now set an example for others to follow.

"This year's record low arrest figures follow on from last year's successful World Cup in South Africa, where nobody from this country was arrested."

He urged England fans to continue their good behaviour at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, where some experts fear there will be clashes between eastern European fans.

© 2011 AFP

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