The spectre of crowd trouble is no stranger to European football. As the teams prepare to do battle on the pitch, Teddy Jamieson looks at
the efforts to avoid clashes between rival fans.
cotland go into this summer‘s Euro96 finals with a title to defend — the Tartan Army's ‘Best Behaved Supporters‘ accolade won in Sweden in I992. Despite the high octane potential of the England v Scotland tie. Scottish officials see no reason
Criminal Intelligence database. Photophones will allow police to cross-refer images from the database with those on the close-circuit television. Travelling fans will be accompanied by spotters — policemen who know the likely troublemakers.
‘We have to treat fans with respect.‘ explains Andrew Walpole. a Euro% spokesman. ‘Ninety nine per cent of them will come to enjoy themselves and watch the football. We‘re targeting a very tiny minority.‘
That hasn‘t stopped tabloid journalists filling the back pages with reports of a pan-European neo-Nazi blitzkrcig ready to descend on the competition. 'There seems to be an attempt to talk up violence.‘ Walpole suggests. ‘Our view is that the facts don‘t support that. There is not a history oftrouble in English home matches.‘
Novelist John King is not surprised by the bloodthirstiness of the press. King. whose first novel takes a hooligan's-eye view of soccer violence. suggests it is nothing new. ‘I was reading a paper by the Leicester Research Unit. and they were saying that before the I966 World Cup. there was apparently all this media build-up about hooliganism as well. Obviously there may
be problems. but there would be
why Scots shouldn‘t retain that ‘ wherever you get any large
award. there seems to be an group of people. be it ‘Scottish fans have proved that attempt to talk up Glastonbury or wherever.‘
they are the best supporters.‘ says violence. Our view is that King‘s novel. The Football
Willie McDougall. security advisor the facts don’t support Factory (Cape £9.99) tries to
to the Scottish Football Association. ‘And our message to fans is “Don’t let the side down“. We're never complacent. There will be difficulties going to England. That fixture has a history — not of hooligan behaviour. but perhaps anti-social behaviour — but we have our networks set up and the hooligan elements are being monitored.‘
This cautious optimism is shared by the
organisers of Euro96. despite the precedent of
last year‘s riot by English fans in Dublin. Not that they are taking anything for granted: £1.3m is being spent on security.
As well as the now familiar methods — close- circuit television and alcohol bans — all venues will be equipped with Photophones. A computer with a video database containing pictures of all known football hooligans on the National
that. There is not a :10! history of trouble in English home matches.’
. "i ~~ a . F .
Bloodied but defiant: the media image at tootball hooliganism in LB.
behind the paper-thin perceptions of the media image of the football hooligan. While not condoning their behaviour. King places the actions of his fictional characters in a wider social context. Violence becomes a way of asserting an identity. of gaining respect and obviating political powerlessness. The Football [factory tries to
show up just how misleading the media image of
the hooligan is.
‘Football hooliganism does go on.‘ King admits. ‘but the problem is the way it‘s presented. There is no effort to look at the social situation.
The media‘s understanding of it is simplistic. If
they put in a picture of English fans on the rampage in Holland. they'll sell a lot of papers. so there is that voyeuristic thing. And Nazis are quite an attractive thing to write about.‘
A guide to who plays who, where and when in Euro96.
SAT 8 I England v Switzerland 3pm. London/[TV
SUN 9 I Spain v Bulgaria 2.30pm. Leeds/ITV
I Germany v Czech Republic 5pm. Manchester/BBC]
I uenmark v Portugal 7.30pm. Shefﬁeld/BBCI MON 10
I Holland V Scotland 4.30pm. Birmingham/ITV I Romania 1: France 7.30pm. Newcastle/BBC] TUE 11
I Italy V Russia 4.30pm. Liverpool/BBC]
I Turkey V Croatia 7.30pm. Nottingham/ITV THURS 13 ' I Bulgaria v Romania 4.30pm. Newcastle/ITV I Switzerland 1! Holland 7.30pm. Birmingham/BBCI
I Portugal V Turkey 4.30pm. Nottingham/BBC! I Czech Republic v Italy 7.30pm. Liverpool/[TV SAT 15
I England v Scotland 3pm. London/BBCI
I France v Spain 6pm. Leeds/ITV
I Russia v Germany 3pm. Manehester/ITV
I Croatia v Denmark 6pm. Sheffield/BBC] TUE 18
I France V Bulgaria 4.30pm. Newcastle/channel tbc I Romania V Spain 4.30pm. Leeds/channel tbc
I Scotland v Switzerland 7.30pm. Birmingham/channel tbc
I England V Holland 7.30pm. London/channel tbc
WED 19 I Croatia v Portugal 4.30pm. Nottingham/channel
I Turkey V Denmark 4.30pm. Shefﬁeld/channel tbc I Russia v Czech Republic 7.30pm. Liverpool/channel the
I Italy V Germany 7.30pm. Manchester/channel tbc
QUARTER FINALS -
I Winner A V Runner-Up 8 3pm. London/channel the
I Winner B v Runner-Up A 6.30pm. Liverpool/channel tbe
SUN 23 I Winner C v Runner-Up 0 3pm.
I Winner 0 v Runner-lip C 6.30pm. Birmingham/channel tbc
WED 26 I Winner liverpooi 11 Winner Birmingham 4pm. Manchester/BBC l/ITV
I Winner London it Winner Manchester 7.30pm. London/B BC l/ [W
SUN 30 I EuroQS Final 7pm. London/BBCl/ITV
The List 3| Ma} —l.‘~ .Iun l99613