Soccer-Switzerland plans new fan restrictions to fight hooligans

BERNE Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:54pm GMT

BERNE Nov 20 (Reuters) - Switzerland may use a colour code system to identify soccer matches where fan violence is likely and will then ban alcohol and impose drastic restrictions on visiting supporters at those considered high risk.

The measures were recommended by the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors (CCJDP) on Tuesday and are the latest attempt to clamp down on violence in Switzerland which has struggled to bring the problem under control.

They would also apply to ice hockey, a popular spectator sport in the Alpine nation.

The CCJDP recommended that a traffic light coding system be used to determine which matches would be classed as red (high risk), yellow (medium) and green (low).

The CCJDP said that for red games, visiting fans would have to travel to the stadiums on special buses and trains and would only be allowed entry with a "combined" ticket including transport and the match.

"The benefit for the relevant (police) authority is that this significantly reduces the police presence necessary," said the CCJDP in a statement, adding that the system had been used successfully in the Netherlands and Belgium.

"The arrival of the visiting supporters can be organised in such a manner as to avoid encounters between rival groups of football fans and unauthorised processions of visiting supporters."

Alcohol sales would be banned in and around stadiums except in the VIP areas, it added.

"Alcohol releases inhibitions and may, in a context as emotional as football or ice hockey, bring disastrous consequences in a minority of supporters," said the report.

"As it is impossible to distinguish those fans who present such a risk from those who don't, limitations on the sale of alcoholic beverages must unfortunately apply to everyone."

Switzerland's hooliganism problems reached a peak last year when the FC Zurich-Grasshoppers derby, in FIFA's host city, was called off in the second half after rival supporters threw fireworks at each other.

Despite a series of measures over the years, Swiss authorities have failed to stamp out trouble and fans regularly smash up trains, fight with police and vandalise stadiums.

Most police services in Switzerland are decentralised and controlled by the cantons with the CCJDP acting as a national forum.

The individual cantons will decide whether or not to implement the controls which should be introduced next season. (Writing by Brian Homewood, Editing by Justin Palmer)

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