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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Jack Straw warns hooligans
Jack Straw has sent out a strong warning to English hooligans planning to cause trouble at this summer's European Championships.
There have been calls to bring in new banning orders from some football supporters' organisations with the increasing worries over hooliganism, but Straw remains firm.
The home secretary attended a meeting on Monday with ambassadors from Belgium and Holland to discuss options to prevent hooligans from travelling to the games, and has warned those wanting to wreak havoc.
Jack straw insisted: "They will be dealt with and dealt with severely in either the Netherlands or in Belgium and not just be put on the next train back because that can be seen as equivalent to being let off."
Both Brussels and Antwerp prosecutors have argued that they have neither the staff nor the resources to carry out such a quick judicial process at all times.
Brussels general prosecutor, Benoit Dejemeppe expressed his worries.
"Quick justice for Euro 2000 is not going to be that easy because of the availability of manpower and means," he said.
Belgian justice minister Marc Verwilghen has promised he would help both cities in dealing with any possible extra workload hooligans could bring.
New laws would have prosecutors and courthouses at the ready, open to carry out trials on a daily basis, including weekends.
"It all depends on the means. In Antwerp, for example, we can only apply it during working days, not on weekends," said Bart van Lijsebeth, Antwerp's general prosecutor.
Local police forces have made available holding cells in many cities, which can hold up to 4,000 fans, while police in both Belgium and Holland have special powers to summarily detain anyone making trouble.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who will be an influential figure when the vote to decide who hosts the 2006 World Cup is made in Zurich on 6 July, has spoken of his desire to keep the thugs out of Euro 2000.
Blatter considers that the security measures taken by the respective police forces will be efficient but the underlying problem is the hooligan element.
"We must try and block their entry," he said.
"In England the various hooligan organisations are known.
"But they could still travel with their European passports. There are so many ways to travel nowadays. We cannot control everyone."
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