Dutch sign action plan against football hooligans

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Dutch authorities signed a new action plan Wednesday to curb football hooliganism, following several violent incidents in the past year which even saw a goal-keeper attacked during a match.

Safety Minister Ivo Opstelten, mayors of cities hosting matches, the Dutch football federaton (KNVB), police and prosecutors agreed to the plan which included profiling the country's top 10 notorious hooligans, a Justice Ministry statement said.

"The plan includes short and medium term measures to strongly push back criminal, nuisance and unsafe behaviour. It needs to be implemented before the end of the year," it added.

Measures also included harsher and quicker sentencings for hooliganism, more police officers and CCTV cameras at matches, stricter control on fireworks and arresting fans who shout offensive slogans.

"Apart from imposing a sentence, a judge will also be able to slap a two year area ban on a person" found guilty of hooliganism, said the statement.

Violence broke out several times last year around the Netherlands including a now notorious incident in December when an Ajax fan ran onto the pitch during a Dutch Cup match in Amsterdam and tried to assault Alkmaar AZ's Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.

The match was called off after AZ walked off the pitch and replayed in January, where 20,000 children were allowed to be the only spectators.

Also in December, police fired warning shots when violence broke out between fans belonging to FC Utrecht and FC Twente, when Twente supporters allegedly threw fireworks at the Utrecht camp.

In September last year, police drew weapons and arrested at least two men when angry fans of Rotterdam club Feyenoord stormed and vandalised the entrance to a building in the port city, demanding the club's board of directors resign.

© 2012 AFP

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