At last, a Football Law in the Netherlands?
For a long time there has been a discussion about football specific legislation in the Netherlands. It seems like this legislation will finally enter into force before the end of 2009. The proposed legislation is currently awaiting approval from the First Chamber of Parliament in the Netherlands.
The proposed law has come a long way, since its conception as a law specifically and exclusively designed to deal with the problem of football hooliganism. The proposed Football Law is now incorporated into a much broader piece of legislation, designed to deal with a myriad of different public order offences. The proposed law, as initiated by the Dutch cabinet, has been passed by the Second Chamber of Parliament. The Second Chamber however, has added some possibly controversial amendments. Approval of the proposed Football Law by the First Chamber of Parliament is anticipated before the end of 2009.
This paper will provide an in depth look into the proposed Foot-ball Law in the Netherlands. This paper will look at how the Dutch legislature attempts to deal with the problem of football hooliganism. The Netherlands has been able to look at similar legislation in a number of other countries and has been able to learn from the difficulties these countries have encountered with this legislation. The Dutch legislature has come up with a fairly moderate proposed law, which avoids a lot of the draconian measures present in comparable laws in other countries. This paper attempts to give an overview of the Dutch legislation and show how this proposed law fits in the current array of measures to combat football hooliganism in the Netherlands. First, a look will be provided at the history of the proposed Football Law. Secondly, this paper will look at the actual text of the proposed Football Law. Finally, this paper will look at how the proposed Football Law could work within the current framework of measures to deal with football hooliganism in the Netherlands.
Why a Football Law?
"If there would have been a Football Law in the Netherlands, these hooligans would have never been able to attend this game." These are the words of Onno Jacobs, the financial director of Feyenoord Rotterdam. Feyenoord had just played a game in the UEFA Cup tournament in the French city of Nancy against the local team, AS Nancy. Feyenoord had lost the game, and even worse, the fans of the Rotterdam team had rioted before and during the game. The game had to be interrupted for half an hour as fights broke out in the stands and the police had to restrain the hooligans with tear gas. Feyenoord fans had already fought with the police in the city centre before the game.
As a result of the behavior of the fans, Feyenoord was thrown out of the UEFA Cup tournament. In the weeks leading up to the game, the team had been worried that hooligans might use this game as an occasion to misbehave. Approximately 3000 Dutch fans came to Nancy on the day of the game. Feyenoord had sold 1300 tickets to its fans through its official channels to registered fans of Feyenoord. This way Feyenoord ensured they were aware of the identity of these fans. Through this ticketing system, the Rotterdam club hoped to control the tickets and see that they did not end up in the hands of known hooligans.
However, this means also that about 1700 fans were present in Nancy that either did not have a valid ticket for the game or had gotten their tickets for the game through other channels. Feyenoord, even before the game, had received strong indications that known hooligans wanted to travel to Nancy for the game. There had been problems at a number of international games previously and the club was put on notice by UEFA that any more problems would result in a severe penalty. Feyenoord's board therefore urged the supporters to behave in Nancy. Unfortunately this plea could not prevent the outbreak of serious riots at the match against Nancy. In the aftermath of the riots in Nancy, it became clear that at least a number of the hooligans present had stadium bans for the stadiums in the Netherlands.
For the board of Feyenoord, and for a lot of other people it was clear. The time had come for a Football Law. Feyenoord started an action on its website, collecting signatures of supporters of a Football Law. Furthermore, the Rotterdam club put a large advertisement in a national newspaper, asking for a Football Law. The newspaperad was signed by a lot of famous Dutch people, including current Vice Prime Minister Wouter Bos.
The result of these riots and the ensuing media coverage, as happens so often in the aftermath of such a serious incident, was that the subject of a Football Law in the Netherlands came to the top of the agenda again of policymakers in the Netherlands. Onno Jacobs urged the political parties in the Netherlands to act. "In a Football Law, a reporting duty can be implemented. In that case these hooligans would have never been able to travel to Nancy." The theory in this case is that if a hooligan (or a suspected hooligan) who has misbehaved in the past at football games, has to report at the local police station at the time of the games of his favorite club or country, that hooligan cannot be present at those games and therefore cannot cause any more disorder.
On May 9, 2008, the Dutch cabinet approved the long-awaited Football Law. The Football Law was then discussed in the Second Chamber of Parliament. During the discussions in the second Chamber, the Football Law was amended on a couple of important points. The amended Football Law was passed by the Second Chamber of Parliament with a large majority of the votes. The Football Law is currently awaiting approval by the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. and the First Chamber cannot make amendments to the proposal. A simple majority of the votes in the First Chamber will suffice for the Football Law to become law. The Football Law likely could enter into force before the end of 2009.
The Royal Dutch Football Association's initiative
The KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association, had already been working on a Football Law. The KNVB, backed up by the opinion of the general public, felt that the time had come for a Football Law. In February 2007, the KNVB presented a concept for a Football Law. The KNVB had talked about the details of this Football Law with a large number of experts on the subject. The KNVB discussed the concept with academics, politicians, civil servants and legal experts. The KNVB also looked the experiences in England, in which a similar Football Law has been in force for a long time.
The KNVB, while presenting their concept, asserted that a relatively small number of all people that go to football games cause problems at or around football games. Most of these hooligans have prior convictions for criminal acts and are likely to violate the law again. The KNVB, in its draft, concluded that the Football Law should focus on addressing this core group of hooligans. This constitutes a break with the past, when measures addressing the problem of football hooliganism mostly focused on the immediate prevention of disorder in and around the stadium. These measures mostly provided an immediate response to disorder or the threat thereof. However, the KNVB felt it would be better to directly target the hooligans themselves at an earlier stage in the process and thereby possibly prevent riots from breaking out
At the core of the KNVB proposal is a broad definition of a football event. According to the KNVB, every criminal act at or around a football event (this is not just the match itself, but includes for example a celebration after winning a championship), or which stems from the identification of the perpetrator with a certain football club, should be punished more severely. In case a person is punished for a criminal act around a football event, there should be a number of possible additional punishments possible. The KNVB mentions a stadium ban, an area ban, which means that the person is banned from being in a certain area for a certain time, and a reporting duty. The stadium ban and area ban are measures designed to keep the football hooligan away from football games or other football related events, where these hooligans could engage in disorder. A reporting duty means that the hooligan has to report at a police station close to his or her residence. A reporting duty provides a control mechanism to ensure that that hooligan does not attend any football events, even though he or she is banned from attending that event because of a stadium ban and/or area ban. The KNVB adds that if a supporter does not follow the terms of a stadium ban, area ban and/or reporting duty, it should be possible to detain that person. A further crucial element in the KNVB proposal is the extraterritorial application of Dutch criminal law to (Dutch) supporters that misbehave at a football event abroad. This would for example enable the Dutch authorities to prosecute the hooligans that misbehaved in Nancy in the Netherlands. The KNVB, in presenting this proposal, sent a clear signal to the political parties in the Netherlands. Now it was up to them to act.
In the array of measures before the Football Law, some of the penalties addressed in the KNVB proposal were already possible. A criminal law stadium ban was already possible upon a conviction for a football related crime. Furthermore, a reporting duty was also already possible upon a conviction for a football related crime. However, this possibility is rarely used in the Netherlands.
Presently a stadium ban, area ban and/or reporting duty are only possible after a conviction for a football related crime. The KNVB also has its own array of measures to control football hooliganism. The KNVB, as the organizer of football games in the Netherlands, can hand out a national stadium ban to supporters who misbehave at or around professional football games in the Netherlands. This authority of the KNVB is based on the contractual relationship between them and the supporter who buys a ticket for a game. Even where there is no such contractual relationship, the KNVB is empowered to act based on the fact that the clubs are the owners of the stadiums. The clubs, as stadium-owners, have given the KNVB the authority to deny persons access to their grounds. Such a national stadium ban is valid for all games in the Eredivisie (the highest professional level), the Jupiler league (the second highest professional level), all games of Dutch national teams (including youth teams) at home or abroad, all national cup games and all international games in which a Dutch team is represented, including the Champions League, UEFA Cup (and the current Europa League) and the Intertoto competition.
The KNVB's proposal was taken up by three of the historically largest political parties, the socialist PVDA, the liberal VVD and the Christian-democrat CDA. On June 28, 2007, the initiators presented a proposal for a Football Law to the Minister of Domestic Affairs in parliament.
The proposal of the political parties again pointed out that it is only a relatively small group of hooligans that are responsible for most of the problems at and around football matches. In their proposal, the political parties also opted for a broad definition of a football event. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of football related violence does not occur in or around football stadiums anymore. Most notably, the most notorious football riot in the Netherlands, the riot in Beverwijk between Feyenoord and Ajax supporters, in which one Ajax supporter died, took place in a field next to the highway. Fans of both teams were on their way to an away game of their clubs and clashed somewhere in the middle in a field next to the highway. This shows that football hooliganism is a problem that transcends the boundaries of the football stadium and that any concerted effort to combat football hooliganism therefore should not be limited to the actual stadium and its direct surroundings.
Furthermore, over the years large scale disorder has broken out during celebrations of cup and championship celebrations. For example large scale riots broke out in the city centre of Rotterdam after Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup in 2002 and large scale riots broke out in the city centre of Amsterdam after Ajax won the Dutch Cup in 2007. From these riots occurring outside the actual stadium and sometimes even unrelated to any actual games, the political parties concluded that a new definition of a football event was needed. Any person involved in disorder with a connection to football should be punished for that behavior, and the specific football-related measures (stadium and area ban and reporting duty) should be handed out to that person.
The core of the proposal of the political parties is divided into three pillars. The first pillar is that a stadium and area ban and a reporting duty should be taken up in the (criminal) law. This ensures a quick and targeted approach aimed at the small core group of hooligans. Through a reporting duty, hooligans will be prevented from being present in and around football stadiums and therefore will not be able to cause any problems at or during football matches. Neglecting a reporting duty will be an offense punishable by law.
Pillar two provides that the aforementioned measures (stadium ban, area ban and reporting duty) can be handed out by the prosecutor and the mayor of a city to persons that, based on their behavior, can be connected to football hooliganism. This provision leads to number of different conclusions. First of all, for a measure to be handed out, a criminal conviction would no longer be necessary. Second of all, handing out a measure should go fairly quickly. The procedure to hand out a measure should not be overly complicated. The proposal further mentions that the mayor and prosecutor should discuss who is to hand out a measure in an individual case. In case the person concerned appeals a measure handed out against him or her, the measure should not be suspended. If the judge rules that a measure was not justified, the person concerned should receive damages.
The third pillar of the political parties' proposal is a proposal to criminalize the preparation of public disorder leading to (risk) of death or serious bodily harm. Such preparation can be evidenced by internet-communications, phone conversations, etc. The goal of this third pillar is to enable the authorities to respond to the threat of disorder in an earlier stadium. For example, if the police intercept a communication on an internet message board between two groups of hooligans, setting a time and place for a fight in a field somewhere, within the current array of measures the police can only respond once an actual fight breaks out. Under the new proposal, the person posting the message could be prosecuted, without an actual fight breaking out.
The Football Law
The proposed Football Law was initiated on May 20, 2008 by the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. On April 7, 2009, the proposed Football Law was approved by the Second Chamber of Parliament with an overwhelming majority. The Second Chamber made a number of far reaching amendments to the Football Law.
In the Netherlands, for a law to take effect, a couple steps have to be taken. Most laws are initiated by the government, due to the complexity of most laws and the resources of the Ministry. After a law is initiated, advice regarding the law is asked of the Council of State. Following this advice, the law is sent to the Second chamber of Parliament. The Second Chamber can make amendments to the proposed law. The Second Chamber then holds a public vote on the proposed law. After the Second Chamber has approved a proposed law, the proposal is sent to the First Chamber. The First Chamber cannot make amendments to any legislative proposals. The First Chamber discusses the proposed law and then votes on the proposal. A simple majority of the votes suffices for the proposal to pass in the First Chamber. If questions arise concerning a proposal in the First Chamber, the vote can be held off for a period of time. However, the First Chamber has no right of amendment and can therefore not make changes to any proposed legislation itself. After the First Chamber approves proposed legislation, the law can take effect after it is signed by the Queen of the Netherlands.
The actual proposal for the Football Law, as it stands now, was initiated by the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, even though the first steps to come to such a law were taken by a number of parliamentarians. The Football Law, after the Council of State's advisory opinion was received and attached to it, was sent to the Second Chamber of Parliament. The Second Chamber discussed the Football Law and made some (important) amendments to the proposal. The Football Law was then voted on and with an overwhelming majority approved by the Second Chamber. The Second Chamber then sent the Football Law to the First Chamber, where it is currently being discussed and awaits the vote in the First Chamber. However, given the overwhelming majority the proposal received in the vote in the Second Chamber, it is to be expected that the proposal will also pass the vote in the First Chamber. The Football Law, if passed in the First Chamber, could enter into force before the end of 2009.
The Football Law has been included in a broader proposed law to counteract public disorder. The law is, in a broad sense, supposed to counteract all sorts of different structural nuisances. This law specifically targets violations of public order by groups of people (for example youths or football supporters), who through their often times criminal behavior, create an unsafe environment in the areas or neighborhoods where they hang around. The current legal array of measures in the Netherlands, according to the drafters of the proposed law, does not suffice to deal with this problem. The problem with the behavior of such groups currently is that the police have to wait until an actual criminal act happens until they can deal with this group. A further problem in such a case is that the police have to be able to pinpoint the crime to a specific, individual perpetrator. And even if the police are able to pinpoint a criminal act to a certain person and punish that person for that act, they might still not actually be doing anything about the overall unsafe environment created by the group. Such a group in a lot of cases consist of leaders and followers. To really deal with the problems caused by a certain group, the police will need to deal with these leaders. However, these leaders will often times not engage in any criminal acts directly, but direct their followers into doing these acts. Under the current array of legal measures, it is therefore very difficult for the authorities to directly take measures against such a group that causes disorder and their leaders.
The behavior that is specifically targeted by this law is structural and often times criminal behavior through which public order is violated. Specific examples of such behavior are intimidation, threatening behavior and vandalism. The person targeted by this law engages in such behavior individually or within the group he or she forms a part of. However, there has to be a pattern of possibly criminal behavior that structurally violates public order.
Even though this law targets offences against public disorder in a broader sense, one of the specific aims of this law is to deal with the problem of football hooliganism. This law is specifically intended to provide a zero tolerance policy for the small core group of hooligans that structurally misbehaves around football matches. According to a number of surveys studied in preparation for this law, hooligan groups are loosely structured groups with a dynamic membership. However, these surveys also show that at the core of these hooligan groups are a small number of people, who have been members of the group for a while and who have clear, hierarchical roles within the group. It is these hooligans, who are at the core of their respective groups and who are able to direct the behavior of the group, which this law specifically intends to target.
In the current array of measures, there are some possibilities for the mayor to respond to the behavior targeted. However, these measures are more designed to respond to immediate outbreaks that violate public order, rather than the structural violations against public order targeted in the new law. There are also some possibilities to deal with these structural violations of public order through criminal law. However, these possibilities are also rather limited due to the difficulties in finding the actual perpetrators within a group and dealing with the leaders of a group (as discussed above). The new instruments created by this law, therefore are specifically designed to counteract structural violations of public order, like football hooliganism. This means that these new measures need to be capable of stopping this behavior at an early stage, have a preventive effect, and directly interfere with the group dynamics of the violating group. To accomplish this goal, under this new law the competencies of the mayor and the prosecutor will be enhanced to deal with this behavior.
The Municipalities Law
Under this law the competences of the mayor under the Municipalities Law are strengthened to deal with these structural violations of public order. The mayor can hand out the following measures: an area ban, a group ban (which means that no more than three people are allowed to group together at certain designated public spaces within a municipality) and/or a reporting duty. The mayor can hand out such a measure to a person who has repeatedly violated public order individually or in a group; or to a person who played a leading role in such a group that has repeatedly violated public order. The fact that a mayor can hand out such a measure also to a person who individually repeatedly violates public order is one of the amendments made by the Second Chamber of Parliament. Originally, the proposed law was only designed to deal with public order violations committed in a group setting. However, by including the possibility of measures against individual violators, the scope of the law has been drastically widened.
The mayor can hand out such a measure for a maximum of three months at a time. A measure can be extended three times with another three month period, to a maximum of twelve months. A mayor can hand out a reporting duty to a person who lives in another municipality, but the mayor in this case has to discuss this measure with the mayor of the municipality of residence of the person (the municipality of residence is also the municipality where a person would have to report). This power is especially valid for football hooligans, since in this way a mayor can act against hooligans of the visiting team that violate public order in another municipality than where they live. If a measure is handed out to a person by a prosecutor, the mayor cannot then also hand out a measure to that person. If new facts and circumstances arise, a measure can be altered both to the advantage as well as to the detriment of the person to whom the measure was handed out. A measure will be lifted if the measure is no longer necessary for the prevention of further violations of public order. A person to whom a measure is handed out can ask the mayor to temporarily lift (parts of) the measure. A measure from the mayor is an administrative decision governed by public law and has to comply with certain legal norms. This means that such a decision can be appealed to and tested by the courts. Each extension of a measure is also a new decision and can therefore also be appealed.
The Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure
Under this law the competences of the prosecutor under the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure are strengthened to deal with these structural violations of public order. The prosecutor is part of the public prosecutor's office and therefore, according to the drafters of the law, especially equipped to deal with such violations in anticipation of a verdict by a judge. The prosecutor can hand out a measure against a person suspected of committing the following offences: one that resulted in a serious violation of public order and where there is a serious risk of further violations of public order; or where there is a serious risk of harmful behavior of the suspect regarding other persons; or where there is a serious risk of harmful behavior of the suspect regarding goods. In this case the prosecutor can hand out an area ban, a contact ban (which means that the suspect is not allowed to have contact with a person or certain persons), a reporting duty and/or a counseling duty (this means that the suspect has to receive counseling that could help him or her refrain from criminal behavior). The prosecutor can hand out a measure for a maximum period of 90 days. This period can be extended three times with another 90 day period, but cannot exceed 360 days. A measure handed out by a prosecutor will end when there is an irrevocable verdict by a judge on the suspect's case. A measure handed out by a prosecutor has to be seen in the light of the case where the person concerned is a suspect. Therefore, as soon as there is a binding judgment in the case against that suspect, the measure of the prosecutor will cease to exist. The judge, in ruling upon this case, will take the measure of the prosecutor into account. While the suspect is awaiting his or her trial, the judge can be asked to review a measure. In this case, the judge can alter the duration and the content of a measure. If the judge rules that a measure is no longer needed, the judge can revoke the measure.
Specific football related issues
An area ban can be handed out to a hooligan by both the mayor and the prosecutor. Such a measure can be for one or more specifically defined areas within a municipality. However, an area ban has to be tailored to a degree towards the personal circumstances of the person concerned, taking into account where that person lives, where that person works, etc.
A reporting duty can be handed out by both the mayor and the prosecutor. A reporting duty after amendment by the Second Chamber of Parliament has become an independent measure, so it does not have to be attached to any other measure (in the original proposal a reporting duty had to be attached to an area ban). The mayor has discretion to decide where a person against whom a reporting duty is issued has to report. The person, against whom a reporting duty is issued by a prosecutor, has to report to a predetermined investigating officer.
A mayor can hand out a group ban. A group in this instance is defined as a group of three people or more. A mayor can hand out such a ban when such a group does not have a reasonable goal to be together, for example outside a football stadium during a match. This measure enables a mayor to deal with unwanted groups, which repeatedly violate public order in a certain area. Such a group ban is effective for a certain, defined area within the municipality.
A prosecutor can hand out a contact ban. This ban ensures that a suspect of a criminal act does not engage with his or her victims anymore, or does not intimidate possible witnesses before the case goes to trial.
The measures mentioned in the proposed law are specifically designed to deal with the problem of football hooliganism. This can be seen for example in the fact that a mayor can hand out a reporting duty to a person who lives in a different municipality and thus has to report in that different municipality. These measures should also be used to ensure that football hooligans do not travel to away games of their team to cause problems there.
Furthermore, after an amendment by the Second Chamber of Parliament, a new article will be added to the criminal code. This article stipulates that a person who intentionally provides opportunity, means or information resulting in violence against goods or persons will be criminally liable. Under this article, the person who for example puts a message on a message board calling out other hooligans to fight at a certain time and place, can be prosecuted.
A violation of a measure is a criminal offense and can result in a fine or even a prison sentence. The prosecutor and mayor will discuss what approach to take under this law. In case both the mayor and the prosecutor want to hand out a measure to a certain person, the mayor will defer to the prosecutor. Before a measure is handed out, it is crucial that a dossier is created on the person to whom the measure would be handed out. This dossier provides details regarding the specific behavior of the person concerned, the behavior of the group he or she is a part of, the group structure and dynamic, previous measures taken against this person or group and whether there is a fear for further violations of public order. This dossier can include contributions from for example the police, the prosecutor's office and other instances.
A Football Law that solves all problems?
The term Football Law regarding the state of the current proposed law is a little misleading. The law that is expected to enter into force soon is a law designed to counteract all sorts of violations against public order. Football hooliganism is only one of the specific public order problems that this law is designed to deal with. As can be seen from the legislative history, football hooliganism was the main focus when this law was initiated. In the title of the law one can even find a specific mention of football hooliganism. The Football Law was initiated as a result of a number of highly publicized football riots that shocked the general public in the Netherlands. However, as the riots in Nancy slowly disappeared from the national spotlight, other social problems received a lot of attention. Most notable are the public order problems with street youths in the inner cities. What was initially meant as a law specifically to counteract football hooliganism has therefore evolved into a sort of catch-all law for all kinds of violations of public disorder. This does not mean that the Football Law cannot be used anymore to deal with the problem of football hooliganism.
The Dutch Minister of Justice, in reply to questions raised in the First Chamber regarding the Football Law, stresses the fact that football hooliganism by nature brings with it violations of public order committed by a group of persons and directed by the leaders of that group. Therefore, the prosecutor and mayor are the most suitable persons within the Dutch legal system to deal with football hooliganism within the framework of this law. The Minister of Justice also stresses the fact that this law is not designed to deal with immediate outbreaks of public disorder. The Minister states that this law is designed to counteract a pattern of violations of public disorder, for example by a group of football hooligans. However, where there is a riot, a mayor has other means (emergency measures), more specifically designed to counteract that immediate outbreak of public disorder. This law is designed to break a structural pattern of public order violations committed by groups and in some instances by individuals.
This law will not solve the problem of football hooliganism in the Netherlands. With this law, football hooliganism in the Netherlands will not disappear. This law does however form a welcome addition to the current array of legal measures to deal with football hooliganism. And that is exactly how this law should be viewed-as an addition to the current legal framework to address football hooliganism, which gives far-reaching powers to the mayor and prosecutor to deal with the problems caused by hooligan groups. This law provides the authorities with something that was lacking before in the legal framework-a direct way to address the most notorious violators and leaders of the Dutch hooligan groups and to hopefully break the hierarchical structure of these groups.
This law fits in nicely within the current legal framework to counteract football hooliganism in the Netherlands. In case of (a threat of) immediate violations of public order, the mayor can issue an emergency ordinance based on the Municipalities law. This is a fairly severe measure that impacts an individual's constitutional rights and the mayor accordingly needs to be very cautious in using this instrument. However, an emergency ordinance is a measure that is an appropriate response to very serious and immediate threats to public order, for example a large scale riot between competing football fans within the boundaries of the municipality the mayor is responsible for. The powers given to the mayor in the proposed Football Law fill a void in the possibilities for a mayor to deal with football hooligans. In those situations where there is no immediate threat to public order that requires the extreme measure of an emergency ordinance, but where there is a structural pattern of public order violations by football hooligans, this proposal offers the mayor a way to act.
In and around the stadium, the clubs and the KNVB are responsible for maintaining the order, together with the authorities. If someone does not behave within a stadium, that person can be expelled from the stadium by the stewards employed by the clubs, who as representatives of the club maintain order within the stadium. If someone's behavior warrants this, the KNVB can also act against this person by giving the person concerned a civil law stadium ban.
If a person commits a football related criminal act, this can ultimately warrant a criminal sanction. This person will then be punished for that act by a judge upon a complaint by the prosecutor. The judge in the case of a conviction for a football related crime can, on the basis of article14(c) of the Criminal Code, attach a measure such as a stadium ban, an area ban and/or a reporting duty to this conviction. However, this possibility has not or rarely been used by judges in the Netherlands. The powers given to the prosecutor under this law fill a gap in the current array of legal measures, in that they provide the possibility of handing out a measure to a person against whom there is a strong suspicion of a criminal act who is not convicted for that act yet. The proposed Football Law will also most likely change the attitude of judges with regard to article 14 (c) of the Criminal Code. If the prosecutor has already handed out a measure to a person, the judge, upon convicting someone for a football related crime will be more likely to take over such a measure. So while article 14 (c) Criminal Code is rarely used at this point, it is to be expected that after the football law enters into force, this article will be used more often to attach conditions to a conviction for a football related crime.
In conclusion, the Football Law has been taken up in a broader proposed law to counteract various violations of public order. This does not mean that the Football Law does not help in combating football hooliganism. As shown above, the Football Law fills an important void in the powers of the mayor and prosecutor to deal with football hooliganism. Therefore, it is to be hoped that this law will enter into force as soon as possible.
* Peter Coenen currently works for the University of Lucerne School of Law. He is a member of the Comparative and Anglo-American Law department. He received an LLM degree at the George Washington University in Washington, DC and both a Bachelor and Masters of Law from University of Maastricht.
by Peter T.M. Coenen *
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|Author:||Coenen, Peter T.M.|
|Publication:||The International Sports Law Journal|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2009|
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