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Fighting spectator violence in sport

STRASBOURG, 28.10.97 – Recent violence associated with football matches sets the stage for a Council of Europe seminar, "Sport and the Law", co-organised with the Italian National Olympic Committee in Rome on 29-31 October.

On October 22 in Strasbourg, three English hooligans received four-month prison sentences for assault, just before the Strasbourg-Liverpool match. Stadium violence during the October 11 World Cup qualifier between Italy and England included prolonged clashes between hooligans and Italian police in the Stadio Olympico.

Seminar participants will hold discussions on harmonising European laws against violence in sporting events, with a focus on the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour*.

"Had all the precautionary measures included in the Convention and its corresponding ‘checklist’ been taken, the violence during the October 11 match might have been avoided," says Council of Europe Sports Division leader George Walker, who will be speaking at the seminar.

Among its guidelines, the Convention calls for the segregation of groups of rival supporters (Article 3.4b) and for preventing access to a stadium to any intoxicated person (Article 3.4d).

Other items on the seminar agenda include the increasing use of civil courts to settle sports-related disputes, intensifying the work against doping, and prevention of and legal protection for sports-related injuries.

Note for editors:

The Council of Europe Convention on Spectator Violence (1985) has been ratified by 28 Council of Europe member states and signed by six. Both Italy and the United Kingdom have ratified the Convention.

Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest European Organisation. Based in Strasbourg, France, it has 40 member countries and covers every policy area except defence. It is entirely separate from the European Union.

Press Contact
Panos Kakaviatos, Council of Europe Press Service
Tel: +33 3 88 41 28 98 - Fax: +33 3 88 41 27 89

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