Michel Platini calls for creation of European police force to battle returning ‘hooliganism’ in stadiums
UEFA president Michel Platini has called for the creation of an European sports police force as he fears that stadiums in Europe are witnessing a return to hooliganism, which he believed to be a thing of the past.
Platini, who was re-elected unopposed for a third term as president of UEFA, claimed that there is a rising trend of nationalism and extremism being observed in European stadiums, and reiterated calls for a sports police force to avoid such events, which were a thing of the not-so-distant past.
The Frenchman added that it was a past where hooligans and all manner of fanatics called the shots in certain European stadiums.
Platini was a player with Juventus when crowd trouble prior to the 1985 European Cup final against Liverpool at Heysel Stadium led to the deaths of 39 people. More recently, the Greek Cup quarterfinal between AEK Athens and Olympiakos was called off on 11 March after a pitch invasion by fans in the Olympic Stadium.
The Greek Super League was suspended for a week by the government earlier this year after persistent crowd trouble.
Platini said that UEFA has been left to fend for themselves somewhat to combat battles that can only be won with the help of the public authorities.
The former France international was speaking in his opening speech to the UEFA congress, whose 54 member nations handed him another four-year term after he stood unopposed. He said that in recent months, they have all been struck by certain images that he thought were a thing of the past.
Platini added that some of them experienced that past at first hand and in his case, it was exactly 30 years ago.
The Frenchman insisted that nobody wants a repeat of such events, adding that they need tougher stadium bans at European level and the creation of a European sports police force, which is something he started calling for back in 2007, just after he was first elected.
Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev recently had to close part of their stadium for their Europa League match against Everton after crowd trouble at the Olympic Stadium in the previous round against Guingamp. The club was also fined 50,761 pounds after the match had to be halted for 15 minutes.
Last October, Serbia’s match with Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political message led to clashes involving players and fans on the Partizan Stadium pitch, the report added.