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Football clubs fear anonymous ticket sales

Published on 04/08/2005

4 August 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgian first division soccer clubs are hesitating to adopt the Interior Ministry’s plans allowing unidentified supporters into stadiums.

However, starting from Friday, everyone will be able to buy a ticket less than three hours before a match without showing their ID. And one person will be able to buy multiple tickets in pre-match sales.

Many teams are nonetheless maintaining a system in which one person can only buy one ticket, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Thursday.

Once the legislation from Interior Minister Patrick Dewael is published in the State newspaper ‘Staatsblad’, individuals will be able to buy up to 50 tickets via pre-match sales if they show their identity card.

Dewael hopes the new regulations will inject a friendlier atmosphere at Belgian football matches and has decided to abolish the ‘fan card’.
However, first division clubs will maintain the one person, one ticket system or convert the fan card into a personal discount card which will also make identity inspections possible.

An Interior Ministry official said the new legislation will allow clubs to adjust the official regulations to make their club procedures stricter.

Clubs fear for the entry of unknown people and thus remain in favour of the fan card and identity inspections.

The Interior Ministry, however, wants to tackle the problem of football hooliganism differently.

It said if a person buys 35 cards, he or she will need to identify themselves. If one of the unknown ticket holders is responsible for damages to the stadium where the 35 people are seated, the known purchaser will then be held accountable.

The ministry wants to place responsibility back onto the supporters. “Know who taking with you to the stadium,” is the ministry’s message.

Meanwhile, Dewael’s legislation will also obligate Belgian football clubs to place surveillance cameras in their stadium.

But because clubs will only need to place cameras at the entrance for visiting fans, the privacy commission has claimed the plan is discriminatory, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news