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Football hooligans face the red card

Violence has been on the increase at sports events in Switzerland over the past few years Keystone

Switzerland’s police authorities want to set up a database of known football hooligans as part of measures to crack down on violence at stadiums.

The system, which still needs approval by parliament, should be in place for the Euro 2008 football championships, organised by Switzerland and Austria.

Other proposals announced by the Federal Police Office on Wednesday include preventive detention for potential troublemakers, and the introduction of travel and stadium bans.

Spokesman Guido Balmer said the Police Office also wanted to increase cooperation between the country’s 26 cantons and at an international level.

Justice Minister Christoph Blocher is due to present the plans to the cabinet in the next few months for approval.

The government will then present its draft to parliament which is due to launch discussions on the bill next year.

The measures should be in place by 2008 at the latest when Switzerland and neighbouring Austria jointly host the European football championships.

Club responsibility

The Swiss Football League has welcomed the proposals.

“At the moment it is not possible to restrict access to stadiums for potentially violent supporters, because there is no list of names and photographs of hooligans,” said Thomas Helbling, who is responsible for security and fans at the Swiss Football League.

Helbling added that Swiss football clubs had to do their bit to combat violence in stadiums. He said clubs had to take more responsibility for their fans, in line with recommendations by European football’s governing body, Uefa.

At the moment clubs are not held accountable for the behaviour of their fans at away grounds. The presidents of the top 28 Swiss clubs are due to discuss next month whether this should change.

Other measures, due to come into force next spring, include special training for security staff and stadium announcers.

Football violence

Violence has been on the increase at Swiss football grounds over the past few years. Last weekend police intervened at a match in Bellinzona and arrested several violent Grasshoppers Zurich fans.

The trend contrasts with that seen in Britain, where football violence has declined.

The British authorities published figures earlier this week, showing a ten per cent drop in the number of arrests at football matches last season.

However, banning orders – a measure that prevents hooligans from attending domestic and international football matches – were at an all-time high in England and Wales.

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In 2002 the Swiss authorities set up a group of experts to present a series of measures to crack down on football hooligans.

The measures include a hooligan database, banning orders and closer cooperation between clubs and sports associations in Switzerland and abroad.

Parliament is expected to begin debate on the proposals next year so that the measures can be place in Switzerland for Euro 2008.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR