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RECORD NUMBERS BANNED AHEAD OF EURO 2004

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Record numbers of football trouble-makers will be banned from ...
Record numbers of football trouble-makers will be banned from

travelling to Portugal this summer for Euro 2004, according to

government figures released today.

Currently 2,188 individuals are banned from attending domestic and

international football matches, compared to around 100 for Euro 2000.

Home Office minister Caroline Flint also warned that any other fans

who have previously caused trouble and are felt by police to pose a

continuing risk could also be prevented from leaving the UK or

entering Portugal.

The stepping up of the use of the UK's tough banning laws is part of

the most extensive multi-agency preparations ever for an overseas

football tournament, made possible by an unprecedented level of

co-operation between UK and Portuguese authorities.

Ms Flint said:

'Everyone involved in Euro 2004 wants it to be a genuine festival of

football. The vast majority of fans want to have a good time, and we

are determined not to let a thuggish minority ruin the tournament for

genuine supporters.

'We have been preparing for Euro 2004 for more than two years and the

level of co-operation between the government, the Portuguese

authorities, the British Embassy in Portugal, ACPO, NCIS, the

Football Association and other experts has been excellent.

'We have pulled out all the stops to prevent hooligans from

travelling to Portugal. The UK has tough football banning laws and

we are making sure we use them -£5m from the Home Office is

funding targeted, intelligence-led policing operations to maximise

the impact of the legislation. More than 2,000 known trouble-makers

have already been banned from travelling to Portugal and

others known to pose a risk will be intercepted and prevented

from travelling. There will be an extensive police ports operation

prior to the tournament to identify any potential troublemakers and

the Portuguese have made clear that anyone else who is known to pose

a risk to public order will be denied entry.

'We believe we have done everything we can to ensure a safe and

enjoyable tournament. The Portuguese and English share a passion for

the 'beautiful game', and with everyone working together I am sure

that Euro 2004 will be a wonderful sporting event.'

The government has put supporters at the centre of its preparations

for Euro 2004 and will be co-hosting the second dedicated supporters'

roadshows for those travelling to Portugal in Manchester on 6 June.

England legend Gary Pallister will be on hand to meet fans and

information on all aspects of the tournament from accommodation and

travel to fans events and policing will be available.

Representatives from Portuguese and British police and the British

Embassy will take part in a question and answer session.

Ms Flint said:

'Euro 2004 is all about the fans, who are central to all our

preparations. The roadshows have provided invaluable information and

given supporters a unique chance to grill not only the British police

team, but also the Portuguese police match commanders and organisers.

Co-operation means consultation and we are determined to ensure that

fans questions are answered and genuine grievances are addressed.

'Portugal is the UK's oldest ally and there is a history of

friendship and respect between our two nations. England fans can

expect a warm reception which is vital because experience shows that

if football fans are made to feel welcome, they behave well.'

David Swift, deputy chief constable of Staffordshire police and head

of the English police team for Euro 2004, said:

'For the vast majority of England fans - who we know are decent, law

abiding citizens - I can guarantee that the police, government and

Portuguese authorities will do everything possible to ensure a safe

and enjoyable tournament.

'I can also promise that we will do everything possible to prevent

the very small mino rity of so-called fans who would seek to cause

disorder from ruining the tournament for everyone else.

'Supporters are the main victims of English football disorder and

therefore it is in everyone's interest to work together to make Euro

2004 memorable for what happens on and not off the pitch.'

Notes

England will play the following first phase group matches:

* 13 June 1945 Lisbon, France v England

* 17 June 1700 Coimbra, England v Switzerland

* 21 June 1945 Lisbon, Croatia v England

2. Under the Football Spectators Act 1989 (as amended after Euro

2000) courts in England and Wales can impose football banning orders

(a) on conviction for a football-related offence or (b) if they are

satisfied that an individual has previously caused or contributed to

violence or disorder at football matches and that a banning order

will help to prevent football related disorder. There are currently

2,188 people subject to banning orders.

3. Home Office minister Hazel Blears visited Portugal in February

2004 to witness preparations for Euro 2004 and consolidate joint

working between English and Portuguese authorities.

As part of the visit, the minister met her

opposite number, minister of internal affairs Nuno Magalhaes, to

discuss governmental and police co-operation for Euro 2004 and agreed

a memorandum of understanding between the two countries.

4. Following consultation with the Portuguese police, the National

Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) will provide their Portuguese

counterparts with information on individuals who are:

* currently subject to a football banning order;

* not currently subject to a banning order but against whom there

is evidence of previous involvement in violence and disorder and who

are felt to pose a risk to public order in Portugal on the basis of

police information.

5. NCIS is taking full account of human rights, rehabilitation of

offenders and data pro tection legislation in the exchange of

information.

6. The Portuguese have partially suspended Schengen for Euro 2004

so that individuals can be checked on arrival and prevented from

entering if they are felt to posea public order risk. Portuguese

immigration and border police will be deployed in the UK during the

tournament to enable them to make entry decisions prior to departure.

The decision to deny entry will be a matter for the Portuguese

authorities, but English police officers will provide assistance.

They will, on request, share information on individuals with recent

convictions for violence, public disorder or other serious

criminality if the English police feel that the individual concerned

continue to pose a threat to public order in Portugal. All

information will be shared in accordance with the UK's ECHR,

Rehabilitation of Offenders and data protection obligations.

7. The Euro 2004 England Fans' Roadshow will be held in Manchester

at the City of Manchester Stadium on 6 June. Entry is is free -

to book a place online email Euro2004@PavilionEvents.co.uk or fax

0870 161 3506 with your details.

EURO 2004 - PREPARATIONS

Briefing Note

The Home Office takes very seriously its lead governmental role in

minimising the risk of English football disorder at home and

overseas.

Historically there is a legacy of misbehaviour by England fans at

overseas tournaments and matches stretching back to the 1970s.

Things have improved dramatically since Euro 2000. The tough banning

order legislation introduced after that tournament has been very

successful - the behaviour of fans has improved and the number

involved in disorder has reduced significantly. Government, the

police, the Football Association and supporter groups have worked

closely together to help prevent the export of our domestic hooligan

problems.

Japan was a great success - there were no arrests of English fans for

football-re lated disorder. And in season 2002-3, over 70,000 English

fans followed their club sides overseas with only 31 arrests (an

average of less than one per match).

There is no room for complacency - Portugal is much closer than Japan

and it is estimated that at least 50,000 travelling England fans will

be supplemented by around 200,000 football-loving English tourists in

Portugal and Spain.

For that reason, Home Office-led preparations have been more

extensive than ever before.

The degree of co-operation with our partners has been excellent. HO

has held monthly meetings at which the British embassy in Portugal,

ACPO, NCIS, the Football Association and other experts have met to

develop a comprehensive package of measures.

We are grateful for extensive preparatory work by the British Embassy

in Lisbon and efforts by the FA to ensure that their ticket

allocation will only go to people who have been subject to criminal

record checks.

Government and the police have been pleased to assist them in that

task. Individuals who have purchased tickets direct from UEFA have

also been subject to police checks.

Known Troublemakers

As of today, 2,188 individuals subject to football banning orders

will be prevented from leaving England and Wales during the

tournament. They will allbe required to report to a designated

police station and surrender their passports five days before the

tournament starts and to report again on match days and on the day of

the final when their passports will be returned.

Only around 100 persons could be prevented from travelling to Euro

2000.

In support of police action to identify and obtain banning orders on

known troublemakers, HO has made available£5 million over four years

for targeted, intelligence-led policing operations.

There are currently 67 operations in 30 force areas which have so far

resulted in excess of 200 banning orders with around 500 currentl y in

the criminal justice system. All of the individuals concerned will

be intercepted by the police if they attempt to travel to Portugal.

Ports Operation

The banning order legislation also enables the police to intercept

and prevent from travelling individuals not yet banned but who have a

history of causing trouble at football.

Government will be funding a massive police operation at every air

and sea port. All England fans will be monitored by the police on

departure. Any known to pose a risk (on the basis of previous

misbehaviour and who are felt by the police to pose a continuing

threat to public order) will be intercepted, prevented from

travelling and taken to court within 24 hours to face banning order

proceedings.

The message is clear - any individual who has previously caused or

contributed to violence or disorder in connection with a football

match at home or abroad should not attempt to travel.

Suspension of Schengen

The Portuguese have partially suspended Schengen for Euro 2004 so

that individuals can be checked on arrival and prevented from

entering if they are felt to pose a public order risk.

Portuguese immigration and border police will be deployed in the UK

during the tournament to enable them to make entry decisions prior to

departure.

The decision to deny entry will be a matter for the Portuguese

authorities, but English police officers will assist them in their

task. They will, on request, share information on individuals with

recent convictions for violence, public disorder or other serious

criminality if the English police feel that the individual concerned

continue to pose a threat to public order in Portugal.

All information will be shared in accordance with the UK's ECHR,

Rehabilitation of Offenders and data protection obligations.

Any individual with convictions for violence or public order offences

who is not subject to a football banning order and who tries to elude

the policing operation at the ports will be intercepted.

Policing Overseas

UK preparations are not limited to the UK.

David Swift will lead an experienced and expert police delegation to

Portugal to collaborate with the host police and to gather evidence

of any misbehaviour by England fans.

Expert English police officers will also be in Spain.

Portuguese Policing

Government, police and others have been working closely withthe

Portuguese Government and police for more than two years. We enjoy

an excellent relationship with our Portuguese counterparts.

We welcome the decision of the host police to generate a welcoming

atmosphere for all visiting fans, including the English. They are

committed to treating all fans on their behaviour rather than

reputation. This approach was demonstrated to good effect earlier

this year at the friendly match against England in Faro.

However, the host police have also made clear that they will be very

tough on any one who causes problems.

And the Portuguese are committed to ensuring that anyone arrested who

has a case to answer will face a criminal justice process. There

will be no expulsions without a court hearing establishing guilt or

innocence. Anyone detained can be held in a detention centre for up

to 60 days until the court case is resolved.

Any individuals against whom there is evidence of violence or

disorder in Portugal will face banning order proceedings on their

return.

This is no empty threat - one individual who caused problems in

Switzerland in connection with the Liechtenstein v England match in

March 2003 has recently been tracked down, taken to court and given a

five-year banning order.

Role of Supporters

Our preparations are not limited to policing measures.

The vast majority of England fans will travel to Portugal with no

intention of causing problems. Many are working hard to imp rove the

image of English football and England fans. We have been pleased to

support them in their efforts and pay tribute to their initiative and

dedication.

It is crucial that fans are equipped to enjoy the tournament. That

is why HO, the British embassy in Lisbon, FCO, FA, and supporter

groups have worked together to make as much information available as

possible.

And that is why HO will fund an independent fans embassy in Portugal

to be launched on 3 June.

And why we have worked with the fans and our other partners to put

together guide books and supporter roadshows. The roadshows have

been designed to give fans direct access to the Portuguese police and

tourism bodies along with key UK agencies. The next event will be in

the City of Manchester stadium on 7 June and we urge all England fans

in the region to try and attend.

While Government and the police have done everything possible to

prevent known troublemakers from travelling to Euro 2004. Ultimately

the onus must be on the fans to take responsibility for their

behaviour.

Fans know that their behaviour will be scrutinised by the world's

media and by UEFA. They know that any minor alcohol-fuelled problems

will be described as football hooliganism.

This may be unfair. We all know that alcohol-fuelled anti-social and

disorderly behaviour is a problem witnessed on our high streets at

weekends and at some Mediterranean holiday resorts in the summer. In

Spain alone, every summer the police arrest and detain in excess of

2,000 UK citizens for this kind of misbehaviour. It would be unduly

optimistic to think that there will be no incidents of this kind

during Euro 2004.

But supporters also know that one consequence of any significant

incident could be the expulsion of England from European competition.

Moreover, they know only too well that the real victims of English

football disorder are England fans.

All England fans must t ake responsibility for their actions and avoid

doing anything that can further disgrace our national game.

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