No Pyro No Party? – The Risks of Serious Injury by Flares

A common occurrence in modern football is the use of pyrotechnics (sometimes referred to as flares). Alternatives also proving popular include smoke bombs. Those who use them see them as a tool to make an atmosphere better but given that they can burn at temperatures up to 1600℃, could flares be a hazard just waiting to claim their first life in English football?

European Influence

Tune in to watch any European football game these days and you will likely see, at some point, billowing smoke emblazoned with the colour of one of the teams. A practice very much the norm in a lot of European countries; the use of flares is argued to help fans feel more raucous. It also serves as a method of unnerving the opposition, as experienced by Manchester United back in 1993 when they travelled to Galatasaray in Turkey. Flares, drums and flags emblazoned with “Welcome to Hell” provided the intimidating atmosphere, which ultimately saw them lose out on away goals with a 0 – 0 scoreline.

Borrusia Dortmund Fans Put On Display Vs Shalke

As good at creating an atmosphere as flares can be, there is always going to be a risk that misuse of these party tricks can lead to serious damage. Pyros made for use at football games, often burn at 1600℃ (the melting point of steel). Incidents in foreign football matches in recent years involving flares have seen severe burn injuries and even death.

English football has changed immensely since the 1980’s, where hooliganism was commonplace. The 80s era was typified by groups of fans meeting to fight and attitudes on the terraces being that of rebellious, obnoxious men looking to intimidate rather than enjoying the game. Flares and smoke bombs were more commonplace as behavior was abhorred by the general public.

It is a far cry from where we are at now, with many clubs up and down the country now welcoming families with dedicated family seating areas, activities for children and community development projects to ensure that game day is a fun experience for all. The popularity of pyrotechnic devices is, however, posing a threat to the family friendly image.

Flares produce risks of injury and even death

Fines & Safeguarding

No authority, neither the police nor the FA, wish to encourage an atmosphere of “sit and be quiet” within stadiums. With that said, the game in England now caters to a mass audience and the risks of injury are treated very seriously. Dangerous behavior, including handling these extremely hot (and illegal) devices is something that staff at the grounds continues to stamp out.

Police routinely check fans before entering the stadium and have been urged to clamp down on offenders across the country, in an effort to provide a safe atmosphere for all. Not only is there a risk of burning people from using a pyro, or causing inhalation problems from smoke bombs; but causing harm is also a negligent action. From a legal standpoint, being caught using a pyro device and causing physical harm is both an illegal offence and runs the risk of an injury claim against the offender.

Liverpool Fans Throw Smoke Bomb Before a Pre Season Friendly Vs Preston North End


Don’t Run the Risk

Modern football in England aims to be a community event, with clubs trying to be as accessible as possible to all. With many clubs allocating areas for families, supporters who wish to partake in atmosphere building have plenty of choice to enjoy their team in their own particular way; be that utilising flags, chants or instruments.

To avoid unnecessary risks of burns or criminal action, footballing authorities and the vast majority of football fans would implore pyrotechnic devices be kept away from games. With campaigns by authorities and the support of the vast majority of attendees, the aim is to make your local stadium a place you’d be happy to take your children and family.

safety within football - flares and smoke bombs

Injuries caused by flares are not to be taken lightly, as just small touches from a lit flare can cause extensive burning and scarring. Should you suffer a burn from a flare at a game, we suggest reporting the incident to the nearest stewards and police as soon as possible.

Police often have CCTV facilities and keep an eye on a flare once lit. If you are injured, then Sincere Law has dealt with burn injury claims for many years and can help you get much needed compensation against those disrupting the game and acting negligently. If you would like to speak to us about a burn injury or any other form of serious injury you can call us on 0800 092 2896 or get in touch by filling in our claim form. Get the help you need today from the UK’s premier serious injury solicitors.

Flares in Football – Your Say?


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