Combating violence at sporting events
Violence ‒ be it fighting between fan groups, attacks against the police and private security company employees, or the improper use of pyrotechnic devices and firecrackers ‒ is, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence at football and ice hockey matches. Each weekend hundreds of police officers are deployed to contain outbreaks of violence at sporting events
Intercantonal Agreement on Measures to Prevent Violence at Sporting Events
The cantonal authorities have concluded an agreement on combating violence at sporting events. The agreement contains measures to keep troublemakers away from stadiums or other sensitive areas, and it grants power to the authorities to impose conditions upon the organizers of sporting events. Conditions might concern the journey by fans to and from a match, admission to the stadium or the sale of alcohol at or near the venue.
Further information on the agreement is available at:
Measures to keep troublemakers away from stadiums
The Swiss authorities can impose various measures to keep hooligans and potential troublemakers away from stadiums. These measures consist of exclusion orders, travel restrictions, the obligation to report to the police and police custody.
- Exclusion order
An exclusion order prohibits a person from entering or being in a certain area for a specific period of time during a sporting event. A list of designated off-limit areas is available at rayonverbot.ch
- Obligation to report to the police
This measure compels a person to report to the police at certain times, for example during a football match.
- Police custody
Under this measure, a person can be detained by the police for a specific period of time.
- Travel restriction
The authorities can prohibit a person from leaving Switzerland, for example to attend a match abroad.
An exclusion order, an obligation to report and police custody are measures that can be implemented by the competent cantonal or municipal police force. A travel restriction, on the other hand, may only be imposed by the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), usually at the request of a cantonal or municipal authority.
In addition to these official measures, sport associations and event organizers can also take their own steps to curtail violence, such as banning a person from a stadium.
Any person who is subject to one or more of these measures is registered in the HOOGAN database.
The cantons are responsible for law enforcement and for ensuring public safety and order. Combating violence at sporting events is therefore the task of the cantonal and municipal authorities (see cantonal agreement) with the support of fedpol. Fedpol operates the HOOGAN database, which contains data on people who engage in violence at sporting events in Switzerland and abroad, and who are subject to any of the measures described above. The data may be shared with the organizers of sporting events.
At international sporting events with Swiss participation, such as the football world championship, fedpol acts as National Football Information Point NFIP. It is the key contact for foreign authorities and shares information with its foreign partners. Fedpol can also impose travel restrictions, recommend stadium bans, and request cantonal police forces to impose exclusion orders and order mandatory reporting.
Audits and insiders
At the request of the cantons, fedpol carries out audits on the stadium operators and the local authorities to verify that the authorities and sports associations comply with agreements and implement necessary measures.
At international matches involving Switzerland, police officers familiar with the football scene are deployed as so-called spotters to intervene if trouble breaks out. Fedpol is in charge of recruiting and handling these insiders.
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