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New bill to curb hooliganism

Football hooligan armed with a flare (CM archives)

By Staff Reporter

The draft of a new bill aiming at preventing violence in football matches by controlling fans and by enforcing strict penalties to perpetrators is on its final stages, reports suggested yesterday.

The draft is with the state’s legal services. Government spokesperson Nicos Christodoulides, confirmed that the bill would be ready at the beginning of next week and that it would be tabled to the House on Thursday.

The bill provides for a ban on people engaging in violence at football games.

According to daily Phileleftheros, the length of bans will be gradual depending on the number of incidents the perpetrator is involved in – up to ten years even. Jail sentences are also being increased.

The introduction of the ‘fan card’ is another provision. This is expected to end the scourge of anonymity. For a fan to buy a match ticket he or she will have to present the card whose number will be matched to a seat so that in the case of incidents authorities will know where every fan was seated at every game.

The justice ministry will push for the bill to be approved within the next two months so that it can be put to force time for next season.

The bill was deemed essential after the recent clashes between AEL and APOEL which resulted in the interruption of the May 17 championship final when a flare was thrown by an AEL fan, hitting and injuring one of the APOEL players who had to be hospitalised.

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