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Football clubs show hooligans red card

The Basel incident was one of the worst episodes of post-match violence in Switzerland

(Keystone)

The Swiss Football League has unveiled tougher measures against hooligans, two months after fans went on the rampage in Basel after a decisive match for the title.

The package will come into force on Wednesday, in time for the start of the new football season, and has been approved by the country's top clubs.

"We realised that it was particularly some visiting fans who were creating security problems," said the football league's security chief Thomas Helbling.

Clubs will now be more responsible for their fans when they play away games, meaning they will have to organise the ticket sales for their sections of the away stadium themselves.

The guest club will also have to take the personal details of their fans as well as provide somebody from the club to accompany the supporters.

Helbling dismissed fears that some fans would be against the identity checks.

"This won't be a problem for peaceful fans. Details are often taken when getting rail cards or concert tickets, why should it be any different for football games?"

An anti-violence campaign and mobile cameras, which are to be financed by the league, should also help calm the situation, said the league.

It added clubs were in favour of the moves and would make their security concept available at the beginning of each season.

But the league warned that changes would take time and that is was possible that violent supporters would find another outlet for their behaviour.

Basel violence

The new measures come after one of the worst incidents of post-match violence in Swiss football.

In May hundreds of people went on the rampage in Basel in the wake of a match between the local team and Swiss champions, FC Zurich.

Parliament earlier this year approved a series of measures – limited until the end of 2009 - to crack down on violent fans, including a national hooligan database, travel restrictions for known troublemakers and increased police powers.

These are to be put into place in time for Euro 2008, which Switzerland is jointly hosting with Austria.

The law has been unpopular with some fans. Data protection experts have warned that the planned database is unconstitutional.

However, it was announced on Thursday that a move to force a referendum on the law had failed.

The referendum committee, made up of a group of football and hockey fans, said it had not managed to collect the 50,000 signatures required, falling about 10,000 short.

Supporters of the vote claimed the law violated their rights and did not fulfil its objectives. The committee said that the events in Basel, plus a lack of political support, had contributed to the failure.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Post-match riots marred the Swiss football championship decider in May. One hundred people were injured in one of the worst episodes of football violence ever seen in the country.

Hooliganism has increased in Switzerland in recent years. According to estimates, there are around 400 hooligans and 600 sympathisers.

Switzerland is joint host of Euro 2008 with Austria. It will kick off on June 7, 2008, in Basel and finish on June 29 in Vienna. Fifteen of the 31 matches will take place in Switzerland – six in Basel and three each in Geneva, Bern and Zurich.

Basel football club has already taken extra steps against stadium violence, with identity checks for the home stadium's problem areas and video cameras all ready in place.

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