Letter: Rioters condemned by their own boasts

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Sir: Charles Ashmore's letter (16 October) in support of our soccer hooligans is, I believe, badly flawed. He claims that there has been no evidence of riots or fighting. I found graphic accounts of riots and fighting in several national newspapers - quoted from the hooligans' boastings (none of whom intended attending the match).

He claims that it would be better for the hooligans to be put through the criminal justice system abroad prior to deportation back home. I think that he would certainly complain afresh if that ever did occur - lengthy delays in a foreign jail with a criminal conviction at the end a certain prospect.

If he had considered his argument fully, he would see that a Football Spectators' Act listing is a lesser millstone than a final conviction. Before complaining of the conduct of the Dutch police he should surely ask himself, why? Why would the authorities in Rotterdam invoke emergency powers and authorise the considerable expense of the operation if there had not been large-scale disorder, with more promised?

I just hope that he finds himself caught up innocently in the midst of such disorder, as did hundreds of innocent Rotterdammers and Amsterdammers. Perhaps his condemnation will then be addressed to the culprits - the hooligans - and not the police, who would much rather have a quiet life.

Yours faithfully,

CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY

Witney,

Oxfordshire

18 October

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