Football Spectator Violence

Is there any legislation which deals specifically with Football Spectator Violence?

Violence surrounding football has been a problem throughout the UK since the 1970’s. It is a heavily publicised area of violence and at times gives both the country and the sport a bad name. It is not, however, something which is simply limited to football within the UK as throughout many countries in Europe there are huge problems concerning violence associated with the biggest spectator sport in the world.

In the UK currently there are civil measures such as the Football Banning Order which can be used to ban known individuals from attending football matches, to stop certain individuals traveling abroad for matches, to prevent certain areas of a city near a football ground from being attended and even to stop individuals traveling on British Rail during a specified time frame.

There is also legislation which has been adopted by the European Union in relation to football spectator violence, most notably the European Convention on Spectator Violence.

The European Convention on Spectator Violence

What is the European Convention on Spectator Violence?

The European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events entered into force on 1 November 1985 and concerns all sports in general but it was brought in specifically in relation to the many problems associated with football.

It aims to prevent and control spectator violence and misbehavior as well as to ensure the safety of all spectators at sporting events throughout Europe.

The Convention commits the European Union Member States to take practical measures in order to both prevent and control violence. There are also key provisions within the convention which set out the measures for identifying and prosecuting offenders.

One of the most important aspects of the European Convention on Spectator Violence was that it set up the Standing Committee which follows the implementation of the Convention, adopts recommendations and to reply to any new difficulties suffered.

What is contained within the Convention?

The European Convention on Spectator Violence centers on the following three themes:

  1. Prevention
  2. Cooperation
  3. Repression

When concerned with prevention of football violence the European Convention deals with the following aspects and measures:

  • Deploying public order resources within the stadia
  • Deploying public order resources along transit routes used by spectators
  • Separating rival groups of supporters
  • Placing strict controls upon the sale of tickets to achieve segregation within the stadia
  • Excluding known individuals from the stadia
  • Limiting or prohibiting the sale of alcohol within the stadia
  • Conducting appropriate security checks – in relation to weapons, dangerous objects etc
  • Clearly defining responsibilities between organisers and public authorities
  • Designing football stadia in a way to guarantee spectator safety
  • Development of social and educational measures to prevent violence and racism

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For more information on:

  • Cooperation
  • Repression
  • Monitoring Member States Compliance
  • The Standing Committee
  • What is the Standing Committee?
  • Function of the Standing Committee
  • What is the structure of the Standing Committee?
  • How often does the Standing Committee meet?
  • Decision making process