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Hooliganism Shock and outrage over violent football fans

Football hooligans threatening to storm the pitch in Lucerne

Angry Grasshopper supporters threatened to storm the pitch and demanded the players hand over their shirts.

(© Keystone/ Str)

Senior Swiss football officials have expressed dismay about hooligans forcing a top-flight match to be called off on Sunday. Politicians and the federation have come under pressure to take action.

Stephan Rietiker, president of the former giants Grasshopper Zurich, said tougher punishments for football hooligans are needed.

“In this country, car drivers get tougher penalties than hooligans,” he told a news conference on Monday.

Angry Grasshopper supporters threatened to storm the pitch after their team fell 4-0 behind to Lucerne. The defeat sealed the relegation of the 27-times Swiss champions from the top division and ending an unbroken 68 years in the top league.

Rietiker said he will look for talks with the minister for sport, Viola Amherd, and the Swiss Football League (SFL).

“A mix of repression and dialogue is needed. It is a problem of society,” Rietiker said.

The Lucerne cantonal prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.

For his part, the SFL president, Heinrich Schifferle, said he was shocked about Sunday’s incident in Lucerne but he appeared to be unable to react.

“We will discuss [possible sanctions], analyse the situation and then take measures. But I not in a position to give you more details,” he was quoted by public radio SRF. “

It was the second such incident involving Grasshopper supporters in two months, but Swiss football in general has been plagued by fan violence over the years.

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