THE NUMBER of Reading FC fans slapped with banning orders for unruly behaviour has nearly doubled across the past three years, official figures have revealed.

In the 2016/2017 season, a total of 16 supporters were barred from attending Reading FC matches, a 78 per cent rise since the 2014/2015 season.

However, Royals fans' behaviour was exemplary compared to other Championship teams, with clubs like Newcastle United handing out no fewer than 111 banning orders during their promotion-winning campaign.

The best behaved club in the division last season was Burton Albion, which did not hand out a single banning order to its supporters.

Meanwhile, just two Royals fans have been arrested for racial abuse since 2014. It was alleged last year that a group of supporters hurled abuse at former Reading FC stopper Ali Al-Habsi, but no arrests were made.

The most common offence which Reading fans have been arrested for since 2014 is public disorder, with a total of 22 arrests in the last three years.

Ten of those arrests came during the 2016/2017 campaign, according to figures released by the Home Office.

A spokesman for Reading FC said: “Once again, we are very proud of the exemplary behavioural record of our fans, at home and on the road, and in the stewarding and policing methods we adopt at the Madejski which contribute towards the stadium’s reputation as a safe and welcoming environment for all supporters.

“Providing a positive Madejski Stadium matchday experience is so important to us as a club and we pride ourselves on making football accessible, affordable and enjoyable for every fan who visits Reading Football  Club.”

One supporter was arrested for hurling a missile during the 2016/2017 season, while five found themselves in trouble with the law for alcohol-related offences.