Euro 2016 clashes: Council of Europe calls for better police cooperation

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland has called on European governments to improve police cooperation after the violent clashes between football hooligans in France.
Riot police monitor England fans outside the train station in Lille city centre, France, as fresh clashes have taken place between England fans and Russian hooligans at Euro 2016. Photo credit: PA

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

16 Jun 2016

His demand comes after the latest outbreak of violence at the European 2016 tournament.

On Wednesday, French riot police used teargas to disperse fans from main square in Lille, with dozens arrested and 16 people taken to hospital over course of the day.

At least 36 people were arrested after trouble flared again following brawling between England and Russia fans in Lille city centre, in echoes of the violence that marred their opening weekend match in Marseille.


"What happened in Marseille is absolutely unacceptable. Europe can and must do more to prevent this kind of violence. Governments must spare no effort", said Jagland.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe has drafted a new international treaty designed to promote safety at football matches and other sports events and improve international police co-operation. 

The new convention calls for better information and data sharing between police forces and exchange of best practices.  

Another key aim of the treaty is to encourage police and local authorities to work with football clubs and supporters to prepare matches and stop hooliganism.   

The Council of Europe plans to open the convention for signature to European states on 3 July at the Stade de France in Paris, ahead of the Euro 2106 final at the same stadium.

"Sport plays an important role in promoting social integration, tolerance and intercultural understanding. Sports events should be carried out in this spirit and, above all, events should be safe. The new Council of Europe convention shows the way," said Jagland.

He said that further aims of the convention are to ensure: 

  • that stadium infrastructure complies with national and international standards and regulations, for effective crowd management and safety; emergency and contingency plans must be drawn up, tested and refined in the course of regular joint exercises; 
  • that spectators feel welcome and well-treated throughout events, including by making stadiums more accessible to children, the elderly and people with disabilities and improving sanitary and refreshment facilities.

A number of measures are also envisaged 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.

This new convention will ultimately replace the European convention on spectator violence drawn up in 1985 in the wake of the Heysel tragedy in Brussels. A committee of experts tasked with monitoring application of the 1985 convention produce assessments, before and after major international tournaments (World Cup, European Championships), of the safety measures taken. 

Fifa, Uefa, the European Professional Football Leagues Association, Football Supporters Europe, Supporters Direct Europe and also Interpol and the EU participate in its work. 


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