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Stadium violence Football hooligan prosecuted over flare throwing

The game between FC Lucerne and FC St Gallen was delayed by the throwing of the flares and smoke bombs


The Swiss federal prosecutor has – for the first time – pressed charges against a hooligan for violence in sport stadiums, after he threw flares and smoke bombs during a local football match.

The Swiss man, aged 23, threw the objects onto the pitch during a game between FC Lucerne and FC St Gallen in Lucerne in February 2016.

In a statement on Fridayexternal link, the federal prosecutor said the charges included multiple endangering through explosives and poisonous gases with criminal intent and grievous bodily harm. There was also a charge relating to multiple damage to property, as well as multiple infringements of the explosives law.

The man managed to smuggle the items into Lucerne’s swissporarena. Surveillance cameras show how he threw the flares and smoke bombs as the players were on the pitch.

Flares at the game

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Flares at the game in question (clip SRF)

The prosecutor’s office did not say whether the man was a Lucerne or St Gallen supporter, although according to the Swiss news agency he is a St Gallen fan. The man accepted that people could have been harmed by his actions and damaged could have occurred, the statement said. This did actually happen: one person nearby was injured.

During the investigation, the man was found to be in illegal possession of a large number of similar flares and smoke bombs.

The prosecutor’s office added that it based its responsibility for opening criminal proceedings on the type of explosives involved and the concrete risk to people and objects.

“It is certainly a pilot case to see if the Federal Criminal Court shares the view of the prosecutor’s office,” spokesman Andre Marty told Swiss public television, SRFexternal link. “That means that when flares are used in a sports stadium, it is understood that it becomes the responsibility of the federal prosecutors’ office.”

This is not the first time that flares and smoke bombs have been used in a Swiss stadium. It is a long-standing problem.

So why this incident? Marty said there was enough evidence for this case to be tried. The man will go before the Federal Criminal Courtexternal link in Bellinzona. and agencies/ilj

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