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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?Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I don't think that the England-Germany game will pass by without any trouble, but hopefully it will be minimal.
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.
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.
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.
Hooliganism is a result of tribal mentality. When two tribes come together, history has shown that one will get a bloody nose.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The majority of these people are known to the authorities and they're on police databases throughout Europe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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