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The European Convention on Spectator Violence entered into force in November 1985, six months after the Heysel disaster in Brussels.

The principal aim of the convention is to prevent and control violence and misbehaviour by spectators, as well as to ensure spectator safety during sports events.


At this moment, the convention was signed and ratified by 41 states parties to the Council of Europe, as well as Morocco. Due to this treaty, the contracting parties engage in taking concrete measures to prevent and control spectator violence and misbehaviour at sports events, as well as provisions in order to identify and prosecute trouble-makers. Besides that, during major international events, sports authorities and police of the countries involved co-operate in identifying possible risks in order to prevent them.

 Text of the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches

 State of signatures and ratifications

A Standing Committee follows the implementation of the convention and monitors the progress achieved in visited countries. It also adopts recommendations and responds to new concerns. In 2015, the Standing Committee adopted a major  recommendation (Rec(2015)1), that gathers the best practices since 1985 in a single document and replaces all previous recommendations  adopted by the Committee.

The Committee started to revise the original text of the convention in 2012 with a view to promoting a better multi-agency and integrated approach of safety, security and service.  This is how the new text of the convention was drafted and adopted unanimously in December 2014.

The new convention was opened for signature on 3 July 2016 in Saint-Denis (France) during a match of the UEFA EURO 2016 and entered into force on 1 November 2017 after the three ratifications of France, Monaco and Poland.  Each state that wants to ratify the new convention CETS No. 218 will automatically denounce the former one so that only one international standard applies.


To learn more about the Council of Europe’s new convention Safety, Security and Service at Football Matches and other Sports Events follow the links

Convention CETS No. 218

 Recommendation Rec (2015) 1, revised in 2019 of the Standing Committee on Safety, Security and Service at Football Matches and other Sports Events