International

'Ultras' ban criticised

2014-12-09 14:43
Camp Nou (AFP)

Madrid - Europe's main fans group have criticised Spain over new measures designed to crack down on violent and abusive supporters groups known as "ultras", labelling them "short-sighted" and warning of "fatal consequences".

La Liga clubs, the Spanish soccer authorities and the government have vowed to banish ultras from stadiums and their surroundings after a Deportivo La Coruna fan was killed in apparently organised fighting near Atletico Madrid's stadium before a La Liga game on 30 November.

As well as banning known ultras groups, fans who sing offensive chants in stadiums are also being targeted.

The Football Supporters Europe network (FSE), which has members in 42 countries, said on Tuesday the measures would affect fans who are neither violent nor abusive.

"First of all, there is great reason to doubt that mass punishments meet constitutional principles," the FSE said on its website (www.fanseurope.org).

"Furthermore, which is even worse, these measures also threaten a vast majority of young supporters, who are organised in these groups and never behaved in a violent or racist way before," they added.

FSE said it was obvious that short-sighted collective sanctions were welcomed in the media and might provide an easy answer to public pressure.

"On the other hand, though, it is a fact that they do not lead to a long-term reduction of violence and/or problems like racism and discrimination in Spanish football, problems which had been neglected for many years," it added.

"We call for the development of alternative approaches which can preserve all the positive elements of a vibrant fan culture without defending those who are evidently promoting racism or violence in and around Spanish stadiums."

Read more on:    la liga  |  soccer
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