MORE than 70 thugs in Merseyside have been banned from the World Cup as police prepare a crackdown on football-related violence during the tournament.

As part of a national operation, Merseyside Police have contacted all those currently subject to banning orders, which are imposed by the courts on people who have caused or been involved in football-related violence.

They have been ordered to hand over their passports, preventing them travelling to Brazil, where the World Cup is being staged.

In Merseyside, the number of people currently subject to banning orders totals 74.

The bans are associated with fans from the three main clubs of Liverpool, (40), Everton (29) and Tranmere (5).

Police patrols will be stepped up across the county and Liverpool city centre as licensing laws will be relaxed during the World Cup, allowing pubs to stay open late during some England matches.

It is hoped the increased police presence will minimise disorder that could happen as scores of pubs stay open to screen the games.

Pubs and bars will be allowed to open until 1am when England games kick-off at 8pm or later.

The decision will affect England's opening game against Italy next Saturday, June 14, due to kick-off at 11pm, the traditional closing time for many bars.

It also allows pubs to open late following the country's match against Uruguay on Thursday, June 19.

A spokesman for Northwest Ambulance said there are no advance plans to put more staff on shift during the World Cup.

"The general consensus was that we did not need to do that," the representative said.

“The situation will be reviewed though, and If we do find that we need to add extra staff we will do so.”