Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Banners banned from stadiums?

The Italian football experience could change radically as new laws propose to ban banners and drums from stadiums, but children under 14 will be allowed in free.

The Government continues its bid to stamp out football-related violence by adding new clauses to the law currently going through the political process.

The Commissions for Justice and Culture have proposed banning the introduction of banners, flags and any other material used for the Curva choreography unless they have only the club or country colours.

Also forbidden from the arenas will be drums, megaphones, emblems, fireworks and "chants related to fan organisations who have been found guilty of violence in a sport event."

In the original text, if the supporters did not put away the banners or cease the chants when warned, they would be charged with resisting a public official, which carries a six-month to five-year prison term.

However, the new legislation asks for all banners that “incite violence or contain insults or threats” to be barred, or face three to 12 months in prison.

The laws underwent radical changes following the death of Chief Inspector Filippo Raciti in the Catania riots during the Sicilian derby on February 2.

With this in mind, the punishment for attacking a public official is raised to eight to 16 years from the previous three to seven.

They are also eager to encourage the return of families to the stadiums and have introduced a proposal that children under the age of 14 should be allowed in for free if they are accompanied by a parent or close relative.

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