INTERVIEW: TONY BANKS
JUNE 18TH, 2000
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this
transcript is used
Tony Banks as you know is here, just a comment particularly reflecting on that
violence and we mustn't talk about it excessively but it is obviously important and
it's important in terms of our World Cup bid for 2006 isn't it, it doesn't help?
Oh of course it doesn't help, I mean I've, I agree with you entirely, I mean going
around the world one is continually confronted with the question what about your
football hooligans and those sort of scenes which again will have gone round the
world because our, our newspapers, I'm not blaming the newspapers, but clearly our
newspapers are obsessed with this. We're the only country that I know that actually
sends television crews and reporters in order to cover the crowd rather than the
event. But those images will go round the world and it makes it very difficult but
the fact is the 24 members of FIFA appreciate that football hooliganism is not
something confined to the English, again not an excuse but I mean there are many
countries that have experienced far worse problems. In Argentina the whole season
has been stopped on a couple of occasions because of murders inside and outside
stadia. Now again these are not excuses but I think that keeping it in context and in
perspective is something that we must all do.
Maybe we could make a virtue out of it by saying if they give us the World Cup we
have to look after our own hooligans and other people don't have to worry about
I've got to tell you, I mean you say that sort of half jokingly, it has already been said
to me again half jokingly by a member of the FIFA executive but it's hardly though
a good, a good selling line to say, you know give us the World Cup and it'll be
good, give it to someone else and there'll be trouble. I mean you can't put it that
way. But I do feel that, you know this isn't just something for football, if you look
at those images David, I mean the people who are causing the trouble, who are
running through the streets, you know they're young, they're white, they're male,
they're mostly drunk. They're the sort of people unfortunately that you can see in a
number of provincial towns on a Saturday night in this country, you can see them
on holiday in Spain and in Greece, it isn't just a problem for football, it's a cultural
problem here but somehow these individuals when they go abroad feel free of all
restraint and then start behaving in, in a fashion that brings disgrace not just on
football but I think on the whole of our country.
And what about this point that they were not able to stop, take away passports
before they left, all we could do is brief the Belgians and the Dutch to stop them
when they arrived, it would have been better if they had never set off in the first
place, do you think there's a case for changing the law so that we can take away
these people's passports at a future event?
Well I think David Davies has said quite rightly we need now again, once again to
look at this situation, we're going to keep going back to it until, as far as we can, get
it right, though I did say there's a cultural thing involved in this as well, it's not just
a problem for football. The possibility of taking passports away exists already
obviously in legislation, but the courts have to do it and the courts simply have not
been imposing enough restriction orders, the Germans have much wider powers, the
police turn up, I was talking to the Home Secretary about this, the police and they
just confiscate the passports. We might now have to start looking at giving powers
to our police, possibly, this is something for Parliament to decide, whether our
police can say, you know you are someone we suspect will cause trouble if you go
abroad, confiscate your passport or actually detain them during the course of an
England match. Now these are draconian powers to give to our police and if there's
a national will for this and I suspect there's probably a will in Parliament at the
moment, then perhaps we ought to go down that road because if we don't then quite
frankly what we see today of what happened yesterday we'll see next week, we saw
last year and we'll see during the next World Cup and that is something we have to
Absolutely, though I suppose the next World Cup, like the one in the United States,
is at least further away, Korea or Japan?
It's not just across the Channel?
Yeah but you can't just decide that the best way of dealing with this always to hold
the World Cup at the South Pole.
The South Pole would be very safe, or the Falklands, bring back the Falklands,
thank you very much indeed, Tony Banks there, summing up the situation.