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Thursday, February 12, 1998 Published at 10:47 GMT



World: Europe

France considers soccer hooligan ban
image: [ Plain-clothes officers will be used to arrest unruly supporters ]
Plain-clothes officers will be used to arrest unruly supporters

The French Parliament is debating a new law to deal with soccer hooligans at the World Cup finals in June.

Under the proposed legislation, expected to be passed before the tournament, convicted soccer hooligans could be banned from entering a football stadium in France for five years.


[ image: Spectators will be watched by the police]
Spectators will be watched by the police
French police will have squads of plain-clothes officers at every game who will move in quickly to arrest troublemakers pinpointed by video cameras.

The French Government has already announced plans to use a fast-track system of justice for suspected hooligans during the tournament this summer.

As part of an apparent get-tough policy there will be a state prosecutor at each match who will speed up the legal process for supporters who step out of line.

Prosecutors will investigate the case on the spot as police bring alleged offenders to them and rule as quickly as possible whether charges should be laid.


[ image: France's elite anti-terrorist police practice making an entrance at a World Cup game]
France's elite anti-terrorist police practice making an entrance at a World Cup game
BBC correspondents say the French Government has been stung by criticisms that it is inadequately prepared for violence at World Cup Games and is determined that the finals will go smoothly.

However, the Football Supporters' Association has already said it fears that English fans could become the innocent victims of this system of "summary justice".

The British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has called on courts in the UK to reduce the chance of English thugs causing trouble in France. He wants judges to place travel restrictions on convicted football trouble-makers to stop them from going to the World Cup.
 





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