EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Prevention and control of hooliganism

Police cooperation in the European Union can prevent and control violence and disturbances resulting from hooliganism at football matches. The Council of the EU is adopting a series of measures intended to strengthen police cooperation between Member States


Council Recommendation of 22 April 1996 on guidelines for preventing and restraining disorder connected with football matches [Official Journal C 131 of 3.5.1996].

Council Resolution of 9 June 1997 on preventing and restraining football hooliganism through the exchange of experience, exclusion from stadiums and media policy [Official Journal C 193 of 24.6.1997].

Council Resolution of 21 June 1999 concerning a handbook for international police cooperation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with international football matches [Official Journal C 196 of 13.7.1999].

Council Resolution of 6 December 2001 concerning a handbook with recommendations for international police cooperation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with football matches with an international dimension [Official Journal C 22 of 24.1.2002].


EU action to combat hooliganism is based mainly on the 1985 Council of Europe Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in Particular at Football Matches and on the Joint Action with regard to cooperation on law and order and security. However, a number of other instruments have been adopted by the Council since the Treaty of Maastricht.

Prevention and control of hooliganism: Community acts

In 1996 the Council adopted a Recommendation that:

Member States should use a common format for police intelligence reports about known or suspected groups of troublemakers. These should be exchanged via the network of football hooliganism correspondents set up in 1994;

  • information should be exchanged about techniques for preventing disorder, and joint training courses organised for police officers from the different Member States;
  • provision should be made for requesting reinforcements from the police forces of other Member States for particular football matches;
  • there should be close cooperation between police officers and stewards in those Member States where this role exists, so as to ensure the best possible division of responsibilities.

In 1997 the Council passed a Resolution calling for:

  • stadium exclusions imposed under domestic law to apply throughout the EU;
  • an annual report to be produced on hooliganism;
  • more care to be taken over media strategy;
  • an annual meeting of experts to be arranged for the exchange of relevant experience.

In 1999 the Council produced a handbook aimed at the police forces of the Member States. This contained practical examples of working methods for developing police cooperation to prevent and control violence and disturbances at international football matches. It includes provisions on:

  • the content and scope of police cooperation (preparations by police forces, organising cooperation between them before the event, information management);
  • relations between the police and the media;
  • cooperation between police forces and stewards;
  • admission policy and ticketing policy.

In the light of experience in recent years (such as the European Championships - Euro 2000) and developments in international police cooperation in this field, the Council Resolution of 6 December 2001 calls for the Member States to step up cooperation.

A handbook aimed at police forces is annexed to this resolution (which replaces the Council resolution of 29 June 1999). The new version of the handbook will include provisions on:

  • the exchange and management of information by the police;
  • cooperation between the police forces in the organising country and the participating countries;
  • cooperation between the police and the organisers of a football match.

The Council does not rule out the possibility that forms of police cooperation established for football matches might be extended to other sporting events.

Last updated: 25.10.2005