Italy proposes banning football hooligans from every stadium in EU

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The Independent Online

Controversial proposals to clamp down on football hooligans by banning them from matches anywhere in the European Union have been drafted by Italy.

Under the plan, designed to be in place before next year's European championship in Portugal, all EU states would have to share lists of people barred from domestic fixtures because of hooliganism.

The proposals have already drawn fire from civil liberties groups, which say they could be illegal. Some clubs are also thought to have reservations.

Under the plans, information on suspects would be circulated ahead of fixtures. If supporters on a "banned list" tried to enter a stadium anywhere in the EU they could be charged under the criminal or civil law of that country. Penalties would include "preventive detention", the draft Italian document says.

Some EU countries have no laws to ban those previously found guilty of violent conduct from stadiums. The plan would oblige countries to enact laws.

Only four EU states use bans on a regular basis: Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and Germany. The initiative by Italy, which holds the EU presidency, was welcomed by some MEPs but criticised by civil liberties groups.

Tony Bunyan, of Statewatch, said transferring information on potential hooligans to police authorities abroad would be illegal. "Whether an issue which appears to affect only four out of 15 EU states - Italy, UK, Germany and Netherlands - is ppropriate for a Council [of Ministers] decision is open to question, as is the imposition of a ban under national civil law to the whole of the EU," he said.

The European Commission said EU ministers would discuss the plans in the autumn.