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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Europe condemns English hooligans
England fans/police
Deported England fans: Europe calls for tougher action
European commentators have voiced dismay at the weekend violence by English football fans in Belgium, lamenting the resurgence of the "English disease".

Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws said that "everyone took their own precautions, but not the British authorities, who were negligent".



England must domesticate its hooligans

El Mundo

The French-language Belgian daily La Derniere Heure said it was "not enough" to threaten England with exclusion from Euro 2000.

"One should consider a temporary competition ban on clubs and teams from the countries which produce trouble-makers," it said.

But another Belgian paper, La Libre Belgique, warned against "falling into the trap of believing that it is only the English who act like wild animals".

German example

"England must domesticate its hooligans" said an editorial in Spain's El Mundo.

It noted that very few Germans were among the hundreds of "mostly drunk" fans arrested before Saturday's England-Germany game in the Belgian city of Charleroi.


Fans in Charleroi used chairs as weapons
Violence may sink England's 2006 World Cup bid

It praised the German police for having "carried out an exhaustive investigation into the violent groups linked to football, identified their ringleaders and put them under strict controls by banning them from events like the current one in Belgium".

In contrast, "the English authorities have not introduced any preventive measures of this sort," it said.

"They have done nothing to prevent thousands of hooligans who don't even have tickets for the games from going to Belgium - people who look set on going just to take part in the spectacle on the streets."

It argued that "not just London, but the EU as a whole ought to look at the positive aspects of the experience in Germany... to nip in the bud the vandalism of the hooligans who use the cover of football events...to devote themselves to violence".

'Civilised' Danes

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the hooligans always seemed to be from the same countries - and Denmark was not among them.

"The Danes do not allow themselves to be outdone by anyone in their passionate support for their team, yet even after the heaviest of drinking they do not become violent," the paper said.

French fans also knew how to celebrate in a "civilised" manner, the paper said.

"The British hooligans obviously do not care that their country has already been banned from international championships once due to its mob-like fans," it commented.

But the paper pointed out that there was room for improvement in Germany, too.

The memory of German fans half beating to death a French policeman at the last World Cup was still fresh, it said.

Charleroi shutdown

France's Liberation daily described an atmosphere of siege in Charleroi at the weekend, with numerous cafes closed.

"After football, the English like beer and women most of all," commented one local.

A cafe owner said the police had advised him and others to close their businesses to avoid trouble.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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