Swiss sports authorities and federations have adopted a new plan of action to counter the growing problem of violence in sport.This content was published on January 30, 2007 - 09:25
At a round table on Monday organised by the Federal Sports Office, representatives from sports federations, the government and cantons signed a joint declaration to do more about violent behaviour at sporting events.
"If the clubs and associations help avoid an escalation of violence, the police and they will have a better chance of dealing with it. It's about reinforcing the message," Sports Minister Samuel Schmid told Swiss public radio.
The declaration's signatories have agreed to quickly implement joint projects and measures, the sports office said in a statement.
Hooliganism has been on the increase in Switzerland in recent years, particularly in football and ice hockey.
The authorities are keen to act swiftly ahead of two big sporting events on the horizon: the 2008 European football championships and the 2009 world ice hockey championships, both of which are due to take place in Switzerland.
The plan of action includes a series of measures that have already been decided upon, such as the law against hooliganism, and others which still need to be implemented.
The plan also foresees training for stadium security teams, supporter initiatives and awareness programmes for those participating in sports via improved training programmes.
The declaration integrates a reference document drawn up by the Swiss Olympic Association, which includes suggestions to promote stadiums that provide the best levels of security.
The new anti-hooliganism law, which was approved in parliament last year and is limited until the end of 2009, includes a series of preventive measures such as stadium bans, a national hooligan database, travel restrictions for known troublemakers and increased police powers.
The new measures come after one of the worst incidents of post-match violence in Swiss football.
In May 2006, hundreds of people went on the rampage in Basel in the wake of a match between the local team and Swiss champions, FC Zurich.
swissinfo with agencies
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.
The 2009 ice hockey world championships will take place in Zurich and Bern.
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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