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New Principles of European Football Security. What is to Be Changed by Ukraine


Oleksii Khrystoforov, attorney at law at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm
Source: European Pravda

On July 03, 2016 at the territory of Stade de France officials of the Council of Europe, UEFA, the French Government and a number of ministers of the EU countries witnessed the official ceremony of signing the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events. On the part of Ukraine the Convention was signed by the Minister of Sport of Ukraine, Igor Zhdanov.

Convention is open for signing by the states – members of the Council of Europe, states – members to the European Cultural Convention, as well as by the states which, however not being the members of the Council of Europe, joined the European convention on European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and, in particular, football matches (ETS No. 120, Strasbourg, August 19, 1985) prior to opening the latter Convention for signing.

Now the Convention has been signed by representatives of 14 European countries. Provisions of the new Convention are directed at general integration of approaches applied to solving the matters of security during sport events.

As opposed to the current European Convention 1985 mainly focused on combating violence at football matches the cornerstone of the new Convention is represented by integration and consistency of measures applied.

Pursuant to the Convention the only approach is recognition of the fact that, regardless of their main goal, safety, protection and operation measures related to football and other sport events must be inevitably parallel and interrelated in their execution and cannot be developed and fulfilled apart one from another.

One of the main tasks of the Convention is ensuring security, protection and good atmosphere at football matches and other sports events. In view of the mentioned the signatories must approve the balanced and multilateral approach in keeping with local, national and international partnership and cooperation.

Participants are obliged to secure regular improvement of strategies directed at law enforcement with consideration for the national and international experience, ensure mutual cooperation so that the persons who committed violations abroad are brought to justice in the country where the crime was committed, his native country or the country of his citizenship.

At the same time, in case of necessity, pursuant to the national and international laws participants of the Convention must review the matter of applying sanctions onto the persons guilty of unlawful actions, including the possibility of limiting travels to football events in other countries.

Having declared its wish to joint the Convention Ukraine must create and integrate the National Football Information Point (NFIP) into the system of law-enforcement agencies.

The said NFIP will represent the unified point of exchange of strategic, tactic and current-awareness information about football matches from the point of view of international cooperation, carry out exchange of personal data in accordance with the national and international rules, ensure, coordinate or organize implementation of international cooperation of law-enforcement agencies in relation to football matches of international level. It must be done with consideration for the provisions of the Convention.

At the same time, taking the contents of the Convention into consideration, NFIP undertakes a role of the national source of knowledge and experience regarding police activities at football matches, development of fans’ environment, and exploration of security and protection risks.

In addition agreed was establishment of the Committee for security and protection at sport events which will mainly perform functions currently entrusted to the Permanent committee organized according to the European convention 1985. Any member to the Convention may be represented by one or several delegates each having one vote.

The Committee shall monitor compliance with provisions of the Convention, consider the question of practicability of introduction of amendments to the Convention, provide recommendations to the participants regarding the measures for its introduction, promote collection and analysis of data, as well as exchange of experience and practical information between the countries – parties to the convention.

Currently it is early to speak on joining the Convention by Ukraine as certain Ukrainian mass media cover in the news because according to Ukrainian laws Convention is an international agreement subject to ratification which is carried out through adoption of a corresponding law..

Pursuant to such law, which is signed by the President and published officially, the Speaker of Verkhovna Rada signs a ratification instrument which is certified by the signature of the Minister of foreign affairs.

In case of successful completion of corresponding procedures following transfer of the ratification instrument for safekeeping by the General Secretary of the European Council the Convention will enter into force in Ukraine.

At the same time among the necessary conditions for transfer of the mentioned ratification instrument is denunciation by a member of the currently valid European convention as of August 19, 1985 on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches which will also mean adoption of a corresponding law.

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