BOLTON Wanderers had the third highest number of football-related arrests last season, damning figures have revealed.

A Home Office report showed Leeds United had the highest number of arrests (52), followed by Birmingham City (49) and Bolton Wanderers (45).

The Trotters were in second place for the number of supporters handed out new banning orders during the 2019/20 campaign as well.

Mansfield Town had the most with 34, followed by Bolton who gave out 24 new banning orders.

In response, a club spokesman said: “Bolton Wanderers Football Club does not tolerate anti-social behaviour and violent conduct whatsoever and, as such, we welcome the banning orders and sentencing imposed on those who break the law.”

Hate crime incidents were reported in relation to 287 matches across the UK.

For the first time the data covers verified incidents of hate crime which were related to a particular fixture and were reported to the UK Football Policing Unit by anti-discrimination body Kick It Out and the Football Association.

It also includes online incidents related to particular matches for the first time.

The report said that 75 per cent of the incidents (214 matches) related to race.

The figures cannot be compared to previous seasons, the report said, because in the past these incidents have only been recorded at the discretion of the police force receiving the report.

The data also showed that the number of arrests for racist or indecent chanting more than doubled from 2018-19 to 2019-20 - from 14 to 35 - even though 319 matches were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and a further 227 were played behind closed doors.

The UK's football policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, described the hate crime data as "incredibly concerning".

"We want to see this behaviour eradicated from football," he said in a statement released to the PA news agency.

"We are working closely with Kick it Out, the Premier League and other partners, with a concerted effort to tackle hate crime both in the stadium and online.

"It is important the clubs and the leagues continue to ensure the police are made aware of all incidents so local forces can work with them to tackle the incidents as they occur.

"We are also working to help tackle the causes of hate crime, with a mixture of education, helping those involved to understand the harm it causes, and diversionary activities for young supporters.

"This will remain a focus until we are able to eliminate this vile behaviour and ensure a safe and friendly space for everyone to support and enjoy football."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Hate crime has no place in football or anywhere else and we must all come together to confront it.

"The increase shown in these statistics is partly down to better recording and awareness, but we have no complacency in stamping out this evil from the game.

"We are bringing forward legislation to force social media companies to remove racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse and we are working closer than ever before with the football authorities to bring perpetrators to justice."

The 287 hate crime incidents reported often included more than one form of discrimination.

In addition to the 214 where race featured, 78 referenced sexual identity, 23 mentioned religion, three related to disability and one to gender identity.

The report said there were 1,089 football-related arrests in 2019-20, a decrease of 21 per cent compared to 2018-19, but again more than 500 matches were either cancelled or played behind closed doors.

The report stated that while 227 matches were played behind closed doors, arrests linked to celebrations around specific matches played during that period are included in these statistics.

DCC Roberts added: "The figures set out need to be considered within the context that 546 matches were either cancelled or played behind closed doors this season, so we can't compare like for like with the previous season's figures.

"We also know that we tend to get more incidents as seasons end, when titles and relegation are settled.

"With the restrictions placed on matches, I want to say from the outset that aside from the high-profile incidents seen in Liverpool and Leeds, the vast majority of fans respected the regulations and stayed away, as they were asked to do.

"That said, what we can see is that prior to the restrictions from covid-19, there was already an increase in the levels of disorder at fixtures.

"In the previous season, there were incidents reported at 33 per cent of 3,022 fixtures, and for the 2019-20 season, there were incidents reported at 36 per cent of the 2,663 regulated fixtures.

"Significantly, while the statistics show a numerical decrease, the number of assaults against stadium staff and police officers are worryingly close to what we saw from a full season in 2018-19."

In 2019-20 there were 120 reported incidents of a member of stadium staff being assaulted, only five fewer than in 2018-19 despite the restrictions on fans attending.

Similarly, 46 incidents of assaults on police officers were reported in 2019-20, compared to 57 in 2018-19.

The downward trend in the number of banning orders in force and in circulation continued.

Banning orders are issued following a conviction for a football-related offence, and prevent that individual attending all regulated matches in the UK.

The number in force as of August 1 this year was 1,621, a drop of eight per cent compared to the same date in 2019.

The report showed 360 new banning orders were issued in 2019-20, down 34 per cent compared to 2018-19.

Stoke had the most banning orders in force during 2019-20 with 52.