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Officials propose booze ban for football games

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Officials propose booze ban for football games
Flares disrupt a 2009 match beween Grasshoppers and FC Zurich (Photo: Brian Kohn)
16:52 CEST+02:00
In a bid to combat hooliganism, Swiss law enforcement officials want to ban the consumption of alcohol by spectators in the stands for “high-risk” football and ice hockey games.

The proposal, which also seeks to limit the alcohol content of beer served at regular games to three percent, was made by the conference of cantonal justice and police departments (KKJPD) at a recent meeting.

A decision whether to proceed with the restrictions is expected next month, Sonntagsblick, the German-language Sunday newspaper reported.

“Alcohol is often involved when there is rioting at football and ice hockey games,”  Roger Schneeberger is quoted as saying by Sonntagsblick.

The proposal would couple permits for games with requirements to serve only light beer — or an outright alcohol ban in cases of “high-risk” games.

At the moment, policies on alcohol at Swiss sporting events vary from stadium to stadium and from game to game.

The new more uniform strategy is seen in police circles as a “done deal”, Sonntagsblick said. 

But the proposal has already sparked a backlash, particularly over the fact that the measures would not affect VIP boxes, where the well-heeled can drink wine and champagne, as well as strong beer.

Critics told Sonntagsblick that such restrictions would unfairly target the bulk of fans who do not cause problems.

“Beer is as much a part of football as a good sausage,” said Rene Baumann, a spokesman for the Lucerne stadium.

“This is not right,” said Patrick Wolf, deputy director of security company Protectas in Zurich, who noted that many of the hooligans come to games drunk, so a ban would have little effect.

Beer maker Heineken, a sponsor of Swiss football, is also unhappy with the proposal, although it is ready to provide light beer if the regulations come into force.

“We are opposed to new prohibitions,” said Heineken spokesman Carmen Wyss.

“There are enough laws and regulations, however, these must be enforced consistently.”

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