Tuesday, November 21, 2017

German police swoop on Belgium-bound hooligans

German police have stopped dozens of violent fans from travelling to Brussels in a crackdown on hooliganism ahead of Friday’s Euro 2012 clash against Belgium.

According to a police spokesman in Aachen, 42 “violent fans” had been prevented from travelling by Friday evening with police confiscating numerous weapons, including baseball bats, during checks on the Belgium-Germany border.

Around 1,500 fans were stopped in total and two arrests were made for inciting violence and a breach of the Explosives Act.

Belgium take on Germany in the Group A qualifier at Brussels’ Stade Roi Baudouin and the authorities have searched trains at the border between the neighbouring countries to ensure the game passes off without incident.

Convicted German hooligans are required to sign in at their local police station on match days when the national side are playing, but police are concerned some known violent supporters may still make it to Brussels for the match.

“We regularly conduct border monitoring activities at international sporting events in neighbouring countries,” federal police spokesman Ludger Introp told SID, a subsidiary of AFP.

“In cooperation with Belgian colleagues, we are specifically looking for known violent criminals.

“After each inspection, we bar some people from travelling, which we have already done.”

Belgian authorities are concerned some 6,500 tickets, which went on general sale in Belgium, could have been bought by German fans.

The German Football Federation has sold 2,500 tickets to their fans for the match at the 50,000-seater stadium.

The current Stade Roi Baudouin stadium in Brussels has been renamed and renovated since it was the scene of one of football’s worst disasters 25 years ago.

Thirty-nine fans were killed during the Heysel Stadium disaster in May 1985 when a wall collapsed after rioting before the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus fans.

English clubs were banned from European competition for five years while 14 Liverpool supporters were found guilty of involuntary-manslaughter.

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