Council of Europe convention set to strengthen international police cooperation at sporting events

New measures will update those introduced in the wake of 1985 Heysel Stadium tragedy.

Football pitch | Photo credit: Fotolia

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

02 Jul 2016

European Parliament President Martin Schulz has condemned the recent outbreaks of hooliganism at the Euros in France.

The German MEP's comments come after the violent disturbances that marred earlier stages of the football tournament, including fighting by fans from England, Russia and other nations.

He was speaking ahead of the high profile signing in Paris on Sunday of a new 'convention' designed to promote safety at football matches and other sporting events.



The convention will be signed at the Stade de France to mark the last of the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Schulz said, "Despite the sad and dramatic days we are living in the EU, I trust that our respective national football teams will demonstrate the best of their ability in the coming days."

"I also condemn in the strongest of terms the shameful violence we have seen inside and outside of the stadiums. This criminal behaviour has no place in sport, and tarnishes the image of our continent."

The German member also praised the "considerable organisational efforts deployed by France in hosting the Euros tournament."

The convention is the brainchild of the Council of Europe, whose spokesperson Andrew Cutting said, "It will strengthen international police cooperation, and improve dialogue between police, local authorities, football clubs and supporters."

It will be unveiled by Thorbjørn Jagland, Council of Europe Secretary General, Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA interim General Secretary, Michael van Praag, Chair of the Uefa Stadium and Security Committee, and Thierry Braillard, France's State Secretary for Sport.

The purpose of the convention is to ensure that football and other sports events provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all individuals through the implementation of an integrated approach on safety, security and service at sports events.

It commits signatory states' authorities to encourage public agencies and private stakeholders to ensure that stadium infrastructure complies with national and international standards and regulations.

Under the convention, emergency and contingency plans must be drawn up, tested and refined in the course of regular joint exercises.

A number of measures are planned to, "prevent and punish acts of violence and misbehaviour, including stadium bans, sanctions procedures in the country where the offence is committed or in the offender's country of residence or citizenship, or restrictions on travelling abroad to football events."

The convention replaces the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sport Events, drawn up in 1985 in the wake of the Heysel tragedy involving Liverpool and Juventus fans.


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