Police writes to hooligans ahead of Euro
Swiss police have been writing letters to some 60 suspected football hooligans, asking them to refrain from violence in the European Championship.5 June 2008
LIESTAL - Swiss police have been writing to suspected football hooligans asking them kindly to refrain from violence at this month's European Championship.
"We know you to be a person who hasn't always stuck to the rules at sporting events," explains the letter sent to some 60 known troublemakers, before ending: "We hope that any encounter between you and us at this event will be nothing but pleasant. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact us. The Police."
The letters were sent out two weeks ago to people known to have repeatedly caused problems at past matches, said Meinrad Stoecklin, a spokesman for Basel-Country cantonal (state) police, on Thursday.
About 320 people are registered on Switzerland's federal hooligan database.
A further 6,000 foreigners are recorded as "risky fans," but federal police declined to say how many of those would be automatically deported if they come to Switzerland.
Although the Alpine country is not usually known for football violence, recent incidents during Swiss league games have caused concern.
Policing levels will be increased fivefold for Euro 2008 games, with extra security on hand around the host cities and at possible trouble spots.
Organisers are also hoping that the cost of match tickets, travel and hotels will keep many potential hooligans away from stadiums.
[AP / Expatica]