Booze ban set for risky football matches

Alcohol will be banned in the stands at “high-risk” football and ice hockey matches in Switzerland starting next season, although VIP sections will be excluded.

Booze ban set for risky football matches
Photo: Amarhgil

The decision was officially made public on Tuesday by the conference of cantonal justice and police department directors.

The new zero-tolerance rules will take effect starting in June 2013 for the first football matches in the Super League, the conference said in a statement.

The action follows an agreement in February by the cantons to ratchet up measures against violence in Swiss sports stadiums, particularly those fueled by booze.

The cantons of Saint Gallen and Appenzell-Inner-Rhoden already have the power to ban the consumption of alcohol at football and hockey games where security is an issue.

Parliaments in Lucerne, Uri, Neuchâtel and Zurich have already passed the needed legislation while other cantons are in the process of doing so.

A system of green, yellow and red warnings will be used to identify matches of low, medium and high security risk with evaluations made as soon as fixtures are available.

For low-risk games, electronic checks of spectators will be made at turnstile entry points to stadiums to ensure that identified “hooligans” are not allowed in.

A Swiss database contains the names of more than 1,000 people who are banned from sports stadiums because of past behaviour.

The conference said access to stadiums of intoxicated supporters will be “systematically refused”.

The police and justice department directors noted that alcohol is a “determining factor” in violence that occurs in sports stadiums, accounting for the overwhelming majority of physical altercations.

The conference defended the continued sale of alcohol in VIP sections even for high-risk matches because this has “never caused a problem”.

It also offers guidelines on transporting fans, requiring special trains or buses for fans of visiting teams in high-risk matches.

Stadiums use fixed video surveillance cameras as a standard security measure but portable cameras will also be used for medium- and high-risk games.

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‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said.