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FOOTBALL

Swiss court jails football hooligan in first ruling of its kind

In what is a landmark ruling for Switzerland, a football hooligan was on Wednesday sentenced to three years in prison – half of that suspended – for throwing fire crackers and other missiles during a football match, injuring another spectator.

Swiss court jails football hooligan in first ruling of its kind
Photo: melis82/Depositphotos
It is the first time someone has received jail time for football hooliganism in Switzerland, Swiss media reported. 
 
The 24-year-old from Appenzell must also pay a fine, as well as 12,000 francs damages to his victim, the Swiss federal criminal court in Bellinzona decided.
 
The events date from a match between FC St Gallen and FC Lucerne at the Lucerne stadium in February 2016. 
 
Footage from surveillance cameras at the match proved that the Appenzell man threw at least four pyrotechnics on to the field during the match.
 
His actions seriously injured a man in his late 40s who suffered hearing damage and later had to be operated on.
 
In court, the defendant’s lawyer pleaded for an acquittal, claiming that the accused took precautions before throwing his missiles. 
 
However the court in Bellinzona sided more with the prosecution, which had requested a jail term of four years.
 
Speaking to Blick, the head of the Swiss football league, Claudius Schäfer, said he was satisfied with the judgement and praised the cooperation between the league, the two football clubs and the authorities, which helped lead to the conviction.
 
He hoped the verdict would “have a preventative effect”, he said.
 
Until now those who throw firecrackers in stadiums have been hard to prosecute because identifying them has proved difficult, said the paper.
 

FOOTBALL

‘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. 

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