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Hockey hooligans under fire

League officials hope to avoid a repeat of the Lugano riots Keystone

The Swiss ice hockey league has fined Lugano SFr 40,000 over the rioting which marred April's final playoff match against the Zurich Lions. In addition the league said it was preparing a clamp down on hooliganism in general.

This content was published on June 7, 2001 - 19:19

After viewing video evidence in which Lugano fans hurled objects at Zurich players and attacked rival supporters, the league's disciplinary judge, Heinz Tännler, said he would be handing down the maximum financial punishment permitted.

As well as the fine, Lugano have also been ordered to play their first three home matches of next season behind closed doors.

"This was necessary," Tännler told swissinfo, "because the club were the organisers of the event and they were therefore responsible for ensuring that the game went ahead without any aggression. "

League president Franz Zölch said that similar incidents would continue to be passed over to Tännler, but added that the league would be considering a number of new proposals over the summer aimed at preventing such outbreaks of violence.

"The scenes in Lugano were some of the worst we've seen in Switzerland," Zölch told swissinfo. "But as well as handing out punishments after the event, we have to look at preventative measures."

Zölch explained that a working group had been set up to examine a number of proposals, including greater police checks, improved video monitoring and a possible ban on the sale of alcohol at potentially volatile games.

The working group plans to consult with clubs, police and supporters before presenting a final report in time for the new season.

by Mark Ledsom

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