Gardaí recording supporters at a Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers match last year

THIRTY League of Ireland supporters have been banned from football grounds across the country as part of stiff new security regulations being introduced ahead of next season.

The Football Association of Ireland has also confirmed that garda 'spotters' will be attached to each club and will travel with fans to away matches in a bid to identify and remove undesirable elements.

Information on those fans will also be held in a central database at garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park where FAI security officials will liaise with gardaí.

As part of the broad set of security measures being introduced to the Irish domestic soccer league, FAI security officials will seek advice and support from their counterparts in the English Premier League.

FAI chief security officer, Joe McGlue, told the Sunday Tribune: "The message that we are trying to get across is to the genuine supporters; to the people who are bringing their kids to the game that there is a safe environment there and that the minority who are causing the problems are being watched, identified and, hopefully, wiped out."

The FAI were reluctant to identify the individual clubs from which the 30 fans have been suspended but it is understood that one club alone has had nine of its supporters banned, making up nearly one third of all actions.

Progress on new security arrangements with gardaí remains at an early stage but the FAI believes the new measures will be enforceable by the start of the new season next March.

A security officers' forum met before, during and at the end of last season to discuss the key issues facing clubs.

They have also mimicked measures taken by the English FA whose clubs were overrun with hooligan elements in the past.

"Obviously, it's not on the same scale, but we would hope to have the security there for 2009," said McGlue.

Violence at League of Ireland games has become common over the last five years. Gardaí say that it takes the same level of officers to police a game against Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians as it does an All-Ireland final.

"It would be a category A match for us, requiring the public order unit, the dog unit, the mounted unit and around 100 gardaí," Inspector Tony Gallagher of Fitzgibbon Street garda station said last year.

"These groups are fuelled on aggression and intent on attacking each other. They have to be watched."

Supporters of the rival teams consume drugs and alcohol in large quantities before meeting up at pre-arranged points before the game to fight.

The FAI is quick to point out that the fans banned from grounds are just a fraction of the estimated 100,000 people who paid in to see their teams play last season.

"It's a small minority but it's there and it niggles at us that there is misbehavior. If it's a serious offence the club can ban them for one or two seasons; if it's a minor offence the club can take them in and interview them about their behaviour and give them a yellow card."