EIGHT men have avoided jail for taking part in a mass brawl between Pompey and Cardiff City fans.
The violence erupted when a group of Cardiff fans got lost after the game at Fratton Park on August 28, last year.
Five Pompey supporters and three Cardiff City fans yesterday received suspended sentences and football banning orders for taking part in the punch-up.
The brawl started when two Cardiff fans had approached a group of Pompey supporters near the Good Companion pub, who they wrongly thought were fellow fans of the Welsh club.
A row broke out and the Pompey fans chased the Cardiff supporters down Eastern Road.
A coach-load of Cardiff fans then stopped to join in the fight, leading to a brawl in the street involving up to 30 men.
Passing sentence, Judge Ian Pearson said the scale of the violent disorder required significant punishments.
He said: ‘It is not unusual for defendants in cases of football-related violence to be of good character.
‘Often they would not have acted how they did had they not been carried along by the spirit of aggression these occasions can create.
‘But in my view it is not appropriate where there has been public violent disorder to just consider the individual incidents.
‘I must look at the scale of the disorder and the view and risks to the public.
‘This situation escalated, as is always the risk and these offences have to be viewed very seriously.’
Speaking to the eight defendents he told them: ‘You all played your part.’
Football intelligence officer PC Paul Foley said he was satisfied with the outcome.
‘The sentences reflect the seriousness of the incident,’ he said.
‘Hampshire police will continue to treat such matters seriously and will always investigate them to the fullest extent possible.
‘This should be a reminder to those who would involve themselves in football-related violence. These kinds of problems tend to take place around high-profile matches, and I would hope common sense prevails in Pompey’s game with Southampton in December.’