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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Will hooligans ruin Euro 2000?

Can Euro 2000 beat the hooligans or will it be another wretched chapter for football?

The Uefa Cup final in Copenhagen was an anti-climax on the pitch and sickeningly violent off it.

At least five people were seriously injured as Arsenal and Galatasaray fans fought running battles in the normally peaceful streets of the Danish capital.

Innocent passers-by watched terrified as missiles rained down on the rival supporters, some armed with knives and iron bars.

Now Uefa says it cannot rule out sanctions against England and Turkey, and the world of football must brace itself for the Euro 2000 finals in Holland and Belgium in June.

With England playing Germany in the group stage and a potential knockout game against Turkey in the offing, can the tournament pass off peacefully?

What more can be done to cure football's festering sore? Tougher sentences, more police, more bans on troublemakers?

Tell us what you think now.

Will hooligans ruin Euro 2000?

HAVE YOUR SAY


In Belgium we are afraid that British hooligans will start fights during Euro 2000. The Belgians were not so happy with the fact that England qualified for Euro 2000. English people say they invented football, well now they are breaking football.
Tom, Belgium



English people say they invented football, well now they are breaking football

Tom, Belgium
There are things to be said for moving the game, though my view is that it is far too late for that. To move the fixture would be to acknowledge the low-life violent element and this cannot be permitted. The visibility of the attendees will be much higher and this can only be useful in identifying the trouble-makers. I say keep the game there and let the hooligans hang themselves on television.
Simon Devine, England

As a Brit living here I'm dreading the arrival of the football supporters. I also think that the fans will stay in Amsterdam during the competition, travelling to the match venues from here. Afterall, other than seeing matches, why would they want to go elsewhere: Amsterdam is a tourist orientated city (Red light, coffees hops and bars). When the Dutch (particularly Ajax) fans riot then it seems to take place at Leidseplein. There're loads of bars and the "Bulldog" there. I'll be avoiding it for the duration.
Mike, Amsterdam, Netherlands



As a Brit living here I'm dreading the arrival of the football supporters

Mike, Amsterdam, Netherlands
First of all I want to correct Neil from the USA who said that there was an Arsenal fan who was stabbed in Copenhagen, this is not correct the man who was stabbed was an Ajax fan. About the hooligans during Euro 2000, I suggest put all the hooligans who want to fight with each other on one of the Wadden Islands and let them kill each other. The result of this would be a great tournament with a great atmosphere. So all the real soccer fans can watch the wonderful games in the stadiums and the police can arrange the traffic and other kinds of minor police jobs. But if I am more realistic I cannot deny that there will be riots. A part of the cause of these riots may be the attitude of the police, because in the cities were there will be played, there are almost more policemen then citizen. In my opinion this is very provocative.
Martyn, Holland

I think the media has done a fantastic job in scare mongering the general public into thinking that all hell is going to break loose at Euro 2000. Every time I see a news programme or pick up a paper there seems to be regular hooligan updates. Every journalist worth his salt will be at Euro 2000 trying to find that 'hooligan exclusive' that their editor demands. I honestly believe that the media has got a lot to answer. At the end of the day everyone is interested in hooligans be it for (they do exist) or against and until this interest diminishes from the general public's eye view then the problems that currently blight football as a whole will never end.
Dave, UK



The media has done a fantastic job in scare mongering the general public into thinking that all hell is going to break loose at Euro 2000

Dave, UK
I think if it kicks off again at Euro 2000 England should voluntarily drop out of international competition for a while. I am a fan as much as anybody but I think it is not fair to expect foreign cities to put up with all the trouble they get when England play for the sake of a game.
Richie, England

I don't think that the England-Germany game will pass by without any trouble, but hopefully it will be minimal.
Andrew McCabe, Wales



I don't think that the England-Germany game will pass by without any trouble, but hopefully it will be minimal

Andrew McCabe, Wales
Why are we talking about those stupid hooligans? I live in Amsterdam and the people here just look forward to the football. If we keep talking about it, those idiots think they are getting famous. And that is what they want. A picture on the front-page of a newspaper where you can see a hooligan kicking a man who's down means he can brag infront of his mates.. People please talk bout football.. And don't mention football and violence in one sentence.. Football is a feast for millions across the globe, don't let a couple of thousand idiots ruin the game...
James Pugh, Holland (50% Scouser)

It is impossible to deny that "football hooligans" do exist and there is bound to be strong competitive rivalry between teams such as England and Germany. But as long as supporters who show signs of drunkenness, violence or vindictiveness are refused entry to the host country, then there shouldn't be too much of a problem. The real supporters are the ones who stick with their team through the hard times and don't go lashing out at the cause of the problem.
Rebekah Field, England

The media for me are the biggest problem. The English soccer thugs know that anything they are involved in will be blown out of all proportion by the headline hunting press. Sadly this is just what the hooligans want, to appear on national T.V and on the front pages of newspapers. I firmly believe that if the media stop making these idiots look like heroes, then they will stop disgracing our country.
Mike Wallace., USA



The English soccer thugs know that anything they are involved in will be blown out of all proportion by the headline hunting press

Mike Wallace., USA
.Of course there will be violence at the championships, that is a foregone conclusion, otherwise a normal policing level would be required. The only way to stamp out violence at football matches is to be less tolerant of violence in general and not categories. Stronger sentences, removal of passports and bigger fines for all violent criminals should be imposed, then at least we can contain these thugs in our own country and deal with them ourselves.
John, England

The problem is not football's, it's society's. To generalise, there is a lack of respect and discipline for others and authority. There is no cure because it's too big and has become a way of life for football supporters who are not the most rational people when it comes to following their team. Good policing can defuse situations and bad policing can ignite trouble too, however I think the FA, Uefa and Fifa are totally out of touch with the hardcore supporters who are not exactly made welcome to International competitions and therefore are likely to be caught up with hardcore hooligans because if you haven't got a ticket people still go for beer and the hope getting a ticket. The ticketing allocations are pathetic and from my experience of going abroad to support England is the locals including the police want to fight the English. It's not just football fans who are being targeted abroad now. English tourists are being targeted by the local criminals.
John Pool, England

Hooliganism is a result of tribal mentality. When two tribes come together, history has shown that one will get a bloody nose.
Jimmy Hill, England

Although the Dutch and Belgian government have stated several times that they are able to control all hooligan problems, I know for sure that hell will break loose from day one. Not only English, German and Turkish 'supporters' will be involved, but also Dutch, Belgian, French and maybe even Yugoslavian 'fans'. All these countries have seen very violent matches in their own competitions, so why close our eyes to the obvious? These troublemakers will be around during the tournament and they will cause a mess. Ban on alcohol or not, police or not, it happened before, it will happen again.
Stan, Netherlands



Ban on alcohol or not, police or not, it happened before, it will happen again

Stan, Netherlands
What should have happened is that all the notable countries with hooligan contingencies should be put in one place. So teams like England, Germany, and Holland should play their games in one place where there's a huge police presence. This way the hooligans can be monitored as they are all in one area.
Mac, Greece

I'm sick and tired of this problem being discussed as if it is only an English problem. Sure, there is still a lot of work to be done as regards the idiots that do get involved from this country, but English fans travelling abroad with their clubs have been well behaved on the whole. The only problems recently have involved Turkish supporters and I'm still mystified why Galatasaray weren't banned from Europe after the Leeds fans were stabbed. This isn't an English only issue and there are worse domestic cases for trouble in places such as Argentina or even Holland. Troublemakers from any country should have their passports taken away for a year and if they re-offend, the passport should be taken for 5 years. The large majority of English fans want to enjoy themselves and take part in a trouble free tournament.
Dean, England

Vitesse Arnhem have one of the worst club records for hooliganism world-wide. Indeed people of been killed attending such games. This has not even been addressed, with most parties more concerned about the English or the Germans.
Esteban Bage, England

What's wrong with giving these hooligans a term in jail - say 1 year the first time they're caught and convicted, 3 years the second, 5 years the third, then 7 - and by then they should be old enough (if not wise enough) to be somewhat more cautious
WBL, USA

Without doubt, this should be the worst ever tournament for football violence. All of the ingredients are there; cheap alcohol, short travel distances, an identified enemy following the Istanbul stabbings and one of the most inept police forces in the EU. As a Brussels resident, I for one will be vacating this country for the first two-week period, until England get knocked out. Things should calm down after that, but at one hell of a cost. My biggest fear is that there is just no stopping it.
Alisdair Gray, Belgium

The fighting in Copenhagen was as predictable as a one-horse race. Yet, the Danish authorities were naive in their preparation and reluctant to intervene in a situation which they have had little experience of in the past. The Dutch and Belgian forces are reported to have learnt from this mistake and are confident that they will be "able to control any outbreak of violence". There will be trouble at the championships which will involve English, German, Turkish and Dutch thugs. The Italians, French, Belgians and Spaniards may get involved as well. The whole sport will never break away from this disease. It is just a shame that the average bloke feels afraid to follow his team abroad in case of coming home in a coffin or with a life-long scar.
Vinit Lakhani, England



It is just a shame that the average bloke feels afraid to follow his team abroad in case of coming home in a coffin

Vinit Lakhani, England

I think history will repeat itself unless Uefa takes action in Euro 2000. Small countries such as Denmark, Belgium and Holland do not have enough police to suppress any possible fights, between highly motivated fans. Humans can be dangerous when it comes to fighting and they have to realise this.
O Suzer, USA

I think that the answer lies in a zero tolerance policy. Anybody showing signs of violence/drunkeness should be refused entry to any match but also, no alcohol should be available to anybody 12hrs before the big matches. This will be a shame as your genuine supporter who enjoys a couple of beers and a bit of cheery banter will be alienated. Sadly the 'far right' have infiltrated football with the fairly predictable outcome that one or two people think that violence is cool....clever bunch these football hooligans!
Darryl Baxter, Thailand

I think the hooligan element will be there in force but I feel there will only be minor events in certain games like the England Germany or the possible England turkey encounter. Everyone is talking about England and Turkey having the hooligans but you must not forget the trouble in Holland a few weeks ago between the local teams at the end of the season. The main worry as happened in Copenhagen is the fear of police using the wrong tactics against these people, tactics that just inflame the situation. it is a matter of segregation for me. Keep them apart and it just cant happen.
Lee Hamilton, England

If the Dutch and Belgian police can handle the situation there will be no troubles but if they can't hell will break loose especially if the English clash with the Turks. But hopefully it will run as smoothly as Euro 96
Kieran Unsworth, England

What is the main target of the sport activities of course is peace and friendship. The nation is not important for the hooligans, English German or Turks. The fans that destroy each other in these countries should be banned from the next tournaments I think.
Yusuf Ergün Ayhan, Turkey



English hooligans are here to stay, we just have to contain the problem as best we can

Sean Unwin, England
Unfortunately, it's in the English mentality to have a few beers followed by a fight. I lived in Spain for several years in various large cities and it is just unheard of for gangs of young men to routinely fight each other at the end of a night out - they seem to have a different approach to enjoying life. It's very sad to say but I think that English hooligans are here to stay, we just have to contain the problem as best we can.
Sean Unwin, England

Without a doubt there will be violence involving English thugs during Euro2000. No competition is safe unless England do not take part, USA 94 took place without incident. Contrary to France 98 where we saw once again English football fans spoil things for everyone. I think England should be banned from all international competitions at club and country level permanently as they cannot control their fans. Watching those scenes from the UEFA cup final in particular, I am ashamed to call myself English.
Bob, England

Contrary to what some people have posted the majority of 'hooligans' are not on any databases because they commit their 'offences' away from police and the public eye. The majority of English football fans who get involved in violent scenes are just normal blokes who don't run if they get attacked. The main reason they are attacked is that they are English lads on holiday having a beer and singing football songs.
Dom Fahey, England



Dwelling on hooliganism instead of looking at the game invites trouble as the anticipation of violence builds up the tension

Mark, UK
Nothing will stop violent clashes between fans at Euro 2000. The only way to resolve this is down to the police. They need to control violent outbreaks quickly and effectively, along with a well balanced police presence. Hopefully the press shouldn¿t have to much to write home about, apart from quality football.
Jason, UK

The big problem is that European policing does not know how to handle the problem and it's far easier to blame visiting fans and keep face. Ban all alcohol for 12 hours preceding all games to all fans, anyone caught with alcohol or under the influence is arrested until after the tournament. That would be a good start.
Carole Orpe, USA

I know it won't go down well with the liberals but if each country took away the passports of known troublemakers and locked them up for the duration of the tournament then the genuine supporters could enjoy what will be a great festival of football.
Mike Cross, Wales

The majority of these people are known to the authorities and they're on police databases throughout Europe.

There are no football hooligans, just hooligans. None of them will have tickets, presumably because actually going to a game would interrupt the violence.

Duncan, England
Instead of the usual hand-wringing and finger pointing after the game, these people should be arrested and interned for the duration of the game. If the liberal powers that be start using desperate measures for desperate times, then there will be less violence.
Mick, USA

Yes, there will be trouble and the apologies will once again flow from British officials, together with the suggested closure of pubs and the banning of beer sales in connection with 'high-risk' football matches. But if the principle of closing law-abiding and innocent private businesses is to be adopted, the only businesses that need to be closed are those called Football Associations. I, as a (Copenhagen) business owner, have as much right to propose their closure as they have to propose mine. And closing them down would be by far the more peaceful solution.
Relton, Denmark

There will be the usual mayhem at Euro 2000, the usual media frenzy, the usual and wringing by the authorities, the usual "we woz provoked" by the hooligans who cause the violence. It would be far more instructive if we all examined ourselves and asked what is it about the English psyche that makes a section of its people want to strut around the world 'larging' it in front of the locals.
Craig Harry, England

At Euro 2000 everyone should be searched for drugs and alcohol which would prevent bottles being thrown at players and the referee for example and might discourage drunken louts from starting trouble in the first place.
Richard Lee, England



A minimum sentence of one year in prison in solitary confinement will make the so called tough guys think first

Pierre Astaphan, Dominica

England will be shamed next month and more importantly people will get hurt. I feel sick with dread when I should feel sick with worry for the team's fortunes. But to any other European who thinks hooliganism is a noose around only English necks, I suggest you do what English people have learnt to do. Ignore the xenophobic elements of the national press and find out the truth. There's a brainless maniac out for trouble living nearer to you than you think.
Annie, England

Hooliganism is a human social disease. We cannot simplify it to being uniquely a British or Turkish phenomenon. Everyone must understand that pointing fingers at the other side and stereotyping entire nations will not solve the problem.
Hakan Can, Boston, USA

If the hooligans want to cause trouble they will be able to do so whenever they want. The Belgian police and Gendarmes are always extremely aggressive against hooligans, sometimes they even provoke them but I don't think they're prepared for the massive amounts of foreign hooligans, most Belgian clubs only have a few.
Joachim, Belgium

f

Evil will prosper when good men do nothing and we now have a hardcore of young men spoiling the game for the rest of us

George, UK
More fans are injured or killed in Marseille, Paris, Istanbul or a host of other cities than during an English season. Hooliganism is not a problem unique to English football, what is unique is that with us, the element that does exist loves to travel. Surely we can come up with a solution that prevents these thugs from going to matches. I for one, am disgusted that I can't get a ticket for Euro 2000 thanks to the strict system that penalises the normal fans.
James Sallows, France

I think the main precaution in Euro 2000 should be a total ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks. A very tight police control on both sides is also necessary.
Ahmet Sevindik, Turkey

Isn't it about time that we just give up the ghost and accept that there is nothing we can do about football hooliganism. It is in essence an English problem, international soccer tournaments that do not feature any English rarely experience the debacle of Copenhagen. One could easily blame the English for this, but my assumption is that the rest of Europe has a general antagonistic attitude towards the English, an attitude which I believe is rooted in colonial history.
Shazad H Dad, England



Britain is made up of four different countries, three of which have had no track record of football violence

Ray Adams, Scotland
People soon forget that Euro 96 passed off without hardly any trouble, especially involving all the fans and at the grounds. So I say: the law - get hard on the minority hooligans, the media - stop reporting such negative stuff and stop 'promoting' the violence in the first place, and the culture - society, it's so un-cool to fight, so why not carry on singing and drinking and enjoy yourselves!
Mark Hyde, England

Firstly, Europe needs to admit that there is a problem. Then they need to assess the causes and instead of laying blame on member states, they need to come up with a common plan that will neutralise trouble makers throughout the continent.
Shaun Stuart, South Africa

Reputation more than anything else is what hurts the English. Having watched a lot of soccer from around the world and read reports from places like South America where there have been serious deaths and games get abandoned. Earlier this year there were riots in France, Holland and Italy. German 'fans' nearly beat a cop to death. Turkish fans have killed two Leeds fans and stabbed an Arsenal fan. But whenever it's English fans - not that I'm condoning hooliganism - it appears to be just fisticuffs.
Neil, USA

I am afraid the Dutch and Belgian police won't be able to handle potential troublemakers. The risk groups will be the English, the Germans and the Turks.

In Holland there is hooliganism but not on the scale we have seen recently ... the police are not used to this kind of heavy violence.

Peter, Netherlands
The Dutch will only come into this when provoked. The Turkish and German 'supporters' will be the main problem. They all live within the area and have their own transport whereas the British fans can be controlled because not all of them will travel by car.
Peter, Netherlands

It seems fairly obvious to a North American eye that urban population congestion and fragile economies have more to blame for soccer hooliganism than nationalism and the sport itself.
Pip, Canada

Let's be as simple as the hooligans, take their passports and then their money. Tough jail sentences, huge fines. These people are wealthy and well organised. If these hooligans cannot be taught a simple lesson let us give them tough individual treatment to calm their pathetic and cowardly tendencies.
Neila Johnson, Hong Kong

I have little doubt that there will be violence during Euro 2000. More likely than not, English fans will be involved. Tougher sentences and bans will not help and there is a limit to what a police presence can achieve. The police cannot patrol every bar and every street. The only solution is to punish the teams. If English fans misbehave during the group stage, points should be deducted from England. And if the fans misbehave during the knockout stage, England should be disqualified.
Grant, South Africa

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