Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Anti-hooligan laws passed

Anti-hooligan legislation formulated after the death of a policeman during rioting at a Serie A match in February has been passed into Italian law following approval by the country's Senate.

Most of the measures contained in the new set of laws, which was voted for by a landslide majority of 244 to one, were part of the initial decree that was set down in the days following the death of police officer Filippo Raciti outside Catania's Stadio Angelo Massimino on 2 February, following a heated Sicilian derby against Palermo.

These laws are already in force at Italian football matches but under Italian legislation, a decree must pass into law within 60 days to become permanent.

The measures include a ban on the block sale of tickets to visiting fans; fines of between €20,000 and €100,000 for clubs found to have ties with organisations of hardcore supporters or 'ultras'; prison sentences for those who force games to be abandoned by throwing flares and firecrackers; and a ban on banners that incite violence.

The legislation, however, made one significant addition to the decree by obliging clubs to give out free tickets to under 14s. The measure is aimed at stemming the steady exodus of families from Italy's football grounds.

"It was important that the decree against football violence became law today, otherwise the fundamental rules of security for our sport and our police forces were at risk," said interior minister Giuliano Amato, who dedicated the new laws to the memory of Raciti.

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