Violence at sporting events

Fans ignite flares during a football match
Fans ignite flares during a football match. (Photo: Keystone/Ennio Leanza)

Sport is a popular leisure activity. Each weekend in Switzerland thousands of fans, young and old, attend football and ice-hockey matches or other sporting events, or watch them on public viewing screens in restaurants and bars, and at other locations. And international sporting events, such as the world and European football championships, attract thousands of spectators too.

Unfortunately, sporting events also have a flip side: violent spectators who provoke fights, attack police officers and private security company employees, or discharge pyrotechnics or fireworks that endanger the safety of others.

Switzerland does much to counter spectator violence. The federal and cantonal authorities take an integrated policing approach that is in line with international standards and includes both repressive and preventive measures. Federal and cantonal security services, clubs and associations, spectator organisations and transport companies all work closely together to prevent violence and ensure the safety of spectators.

fedpol operates the HOOGAN database and ensures smooth co-operation between the Swiss authorities and their international partners. It provides the cantons with relevant data on known offenders and imposes specific measures, such as travel restrictions, to counter violence.

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