international soccer  world soccerGold Cup



Euro 2000

Euro 2000

England threatened with expulsion if hooligans are not restrained.

LIÈGE, Belgium (Sunday, June 18, 2000) -- UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, delivered a blunt message to the English Football Association: get control of your hooligans or risk expulsion from European Championship.

UEFA president Lennart Johansson summoned the organization's executive committee to an emergency meeting after hundreds of British supporters were arrested before and after yesterday’s Euro 2000 match against Germany yesterday. By one estimate, more than 16,000 Britons, without tickets and without hope of acquiring tickets, made the trip to Charleroi in Belgium to cheer on their team from the streets. This was in addition to some 10,000 ticket holders.

There has been violence before and after both the British matches, in Brussels and in Charleroi.

What UEFA wants is simple, keep known hooligans from leaving England. Most English fans attend matches as day trips, coming over by ferry and train on the morning or afternoon of a match and then rushing to catch the last train or ferry back afterwards. UEFA and the Belgium government want the British government to stop known hooligans from leaving the country to attend the matches.

Before the tournament began, the British government supplied UEFA and the police of co-hosts, Belgium and the Netherlands with lists of thousands of known troublemakers. But the British government confiscated fewer than 50 passports. Among those arrested in Charleroi were dozens whose names appeared on the lists, according to UEFA

By contrast, UEFA said the German government, provided the same kinds of lists of their known hooligans, confiscated hundreds of passports.

The emergency meeting here was attended by UEFA chief executive Gerhard Aigner and by Euro 2000 tournament directors Alain Courtois and Harry Been, along with the chairman of UEFA's stadia committee, Ernie Walker. Brian Hayes, security adviser to the English Football Association, was also invited to present his views during the meeting.

All cases of street violence which have occurred at Euro 2000 venues were reviewed, along with the responses by the governments of Belgium and the United Kingdom. The committee expressed its "grave concern for the safety of genuine fans who have been enjoying the tournament and stressed their indignation that a European football festival is running the risk of being spoiled by a series of incidents, almost all of which involve English troublemakers."

At the end of the meeting, UEFA issued the following statement:

"The UEFA Executive Committee has today called on the UK government and the Football Association in London to take the necessary steps to stop English hooligans from traveling abroad. Following the violence in Brussels and Charleroi, the UEFA Executive Committee stated that these English hooligans are a disgrace to their country and a blight on the national team. Their actions over the last 48 hours have left a scar on the tournament and left us wondering why more wasn't done to prevent them from traveling. The scenes of the last two days cannot be allowed to continue. Euro 2000 is a celebration of European football, not an excuse for a small minority of English fans to cause havoc.

"The UK government owes it to everyone concerned to take steps, similar to those taken in other parts of the EU, to stop these so-called fans from traveling abroad. We cannot allow more people to spoil international tournaments for genuine fans. Other governments have shown that it can be done and we call on the UK government to take the necessary steps as a matter of urgency. UEFA will have to determine whether the presence of the English national team at this tournament may be maintained should there be a repetition of similar incidents."

During a press conference UEFA President Johansson, said: "This trouble has not come as a surprise to the British government or UEFA. Nothing has changed and we cannot accept it any longer. It cannot go on, it will kill football."

It is believed the incidents at Euro 2000 have all but killed any chance for England to host the 2006 World Cup. Now it has been told to do something immediately or face further sanctions including being banned from next year's Champions League and UEFA Cup tournaments.

©Copyright 2000 All Rights Reserved