Around the World: Hooligans could prompt Euro ejection

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The Independent Online
Belgium and Netherlands

ENGLAND, IF they qualify, or the holders, Germany, could be thrown out of the finals of the 2000 European Championship if their fans cause trouble.

"Experience shows that fines for countries whose fans misbehave barely have any impact," Bram Peper, the Dutch interior minister, said last week. "Exclusion of the country involved is a measure we should dare to think of."

Peper was speaking after meeting his Belgian counterpart, Luc van den Bossche, in the Belgian town of Leuven to discuss security arrangements for the finals, which are to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium. Among the decisions taken was a sale restriction of two tickets per fan per game.

"We want to make sure that there will be no black market," Van den Bossche said. Organisers had been hoping to sell up to four tickets per person per game. Tour operators will be excluded from the ticket share-out. "Very consciously so, because that was the beginning of the end at the World Cup in France," Van den Bossche added.


THE CHARLTON Athletic defender Emeka Ifejiagwa, who has been on loan at Brighton this season, has been called up by Nigeria for two friendlies against club sides in Egypt and Spain later this month.

Nigeria's new Dutch coach, Thijs Libregts, has overlooked some expatriates like the former Everton striker, Daniel Amokachi, in order to give some new faces a chance on the tour. Chelsea's Celestine Babayaro has also been picked.


REAL MADRID have hardly had an ideal preparation for today's World Club Championship against Brazil's Vasco da Gama in Tokyo.

Beset by criticism back home, where they occupy an unusually low eighth position in the Primera Division, things got worse when they arrived in Japan. The Dutch midfielder, Clarence Seedorf, and the Spanish international defender Ivan Campo had a training-ground fight on Sunday. The pair were parted by their team-mates.

"If players are to win, they need to have a strong personality and character. Sometimes these things happen," Lorenzo Sanz, Real's president, said.

Real's opposition have plenty of colourful characters in their ranks, too. Vasco da Gama's coach, Antonio Lopes, abandoned a career as a police detective to take up full-time coaching in the 1970s. Since taking over at Vasco two years ago, he has had two 40-day touchline bans owing to excessive displays of his fiery temperament.

Vasco's vice-president, Eurico Miranda, is the club's main backer. He won election to the Brazilian Congress by appealing exclusively to Vasco fans to vote for him. He is notorious for running on to pitches to protest against refereeing decisions - and on one occasion tried to claim parliamentary immunity when police ordered him off.