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Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach

 
 

at Football Matches and Other Sports Events

 
 

(CETS No. 218)

 
     

The Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events was opened for signature on 3 July 2016 in Saint-Denis (France), at a UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-final match.

This Convention is the only internationally binding instrument to establish an integrated approach based on three interdependent pillars: safety, security and service. It also promotes co-operation between all public and private stakeholders, including supporters, in order to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment at football matches and other sports events.

   
 

Reference documents

Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events

Explanatory Report - Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events

 
 

State of signatures

The Convention, already on the day of the opening for signature was signed by 14 States: Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine.

Italy signed the Convention on 2 September 2016.

During the 14th Council of Europe Conference of the Ministers responsible for Sport in Budapest, on 29 November 2016, seven other countries signed it: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania and Turkey.

Sweden signed on 10 January 2017.

 

What is the purpose of the Convention?

The Convention builds upon the work done internationally since the adoption of the European Convention on Spectator Violence in 1985.

The principal aim of this Convention is to go from a violence-focused approach towards an integrated approach based on three independent pillars: safety, security and service.

The Convention promotes co-operation between all public and private stakeholders involved in making sport events safe, secure and welcoming, including local communities and supporters.

Taken into consideration the highest safety, security and service standards, the Convention provides measures based on the new challenges to face.

Last but not least, the Convention establishes a Committee on Safety and Security at Sport Events to monitor the Parties’ compliance with the provisions of the Convention and to give them support and advice in implementing these provisions.

 

A multi-agency integrated approach

According to the explanatory report, safety, security and service measures cannot be implemented effectively or on isolation by a single agency. This definition points out the fact that a range of agencies are involved in the safety and security of a sport event.

As the measures overlap under the three pillars, their collective implementation has to be coordinated and delivered as part of a multi-agency package. If not, there is a risk that each pillar and the activities of each agency will be pursued in isolation, which can lead to an important loss of efficiency in the overall response.

 

Three interdependent pillars: Safety, Security and Service

One of the main characteristics of the new Conventions is the integrated multi-agency approach based on three interdependent pillars: safety, security and service.

The concept of safety gathers all measures related to the protection of people from being injured or facing a risk to their health and well-being during sport events. This comprises stadium infrastructures and certification, contingency plans or measures regarding the consumption of alcohol. Safety measures also protect people on their journey to the event and in public viewing areas outside stadiums.

The concept of security incorporates all measures designed to deter, prevent and sanction any incident of violence or misbehaviour in connection with football or other sport events – inside or outside of a stadium. It includes, in particular, risk assessment, co-operation between police and other relevant agencies and the establishment of sanctions.

The concept of service comprises all measures designed to make football and other sport events enjoyable and welcoming for all, in stadiums but also in public spaces where spectators and supporters gather before, during and after the matches. This incorporates material elements like good catering and toilet facilities; but, above all, it focuses on the manner in which people are greeted and treated throughout the event.

 

The Committee on Safety and Security at Sports Events

Representatives from leading governmental agencies with responsibilities for sport safety and security, and from the National Football Information Point are appointed by the States in order to establish the Committee. Observers from sport organisations will also be welcomed.

In practice, the Parties should appoint delegates from both the sport sector and the safety and security sector (in most of the cases, Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Interior or Justice). Experts from the sports federations or other relevant sport bodies can be comprised.

The Committee will monitor the application of the convention through a programme of visits to the state parties, based on an ethos of co-operation between States and a “peer review mechanism”. These visits will aim to provide advice and support in order to help the States to improve their policymaking, to take over best practices, and to comply with the provisions of the Convention.

The Committee will make recommendations to the Parties concerning measures to be taken for the implementation of the Convention and will offer them technical assistance according to their needs. It will also hold consultations with relevant partners and facilitate the collection and exchange of experience and good practice between States.

 

Historical background of the Convention

During the 1985 European Cup final, at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium, 39 people were killed while approximately 600 were injured. All Europeans felt concerned by such violence and its repercussions. Following this tragedy, the Council of Europe provided the first pan-European institutional answer by drafting very quickly a binding instrument designed to tackle the so-called phenomenon of European hooliganism: the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches (ETS 120) was opened for signature in Strasbourg on 19 August 1985 and came into force very rapidly on 1 November 1985.

This convention was aimed to prevent and control spectator violence and misbehaviour as well as to ensure the safety of spectators at sports events. The convention concerns all sports in general, but in particular football. Under this first convention, a Committee called the “Standing Committee” was set up to follow its implementation, to adopt recommendations and to face the coming challenges.

Across the last thirty years, the sports world has undergone an ever increasingly change, namely as regards the increasing number of high profile European matches, the more important media coverage, the increasing number of supporters travelling around Europe not only in order to attend matches but also to be part of the football event and the development of public viewing areas.

Against this background, the 1985 European Convention needed to be updated, as it did not include and could not face all those new challenges. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has been kept aware of the need for the European Convention to be revised and updated to reflect contemporary issues and good practices. It took note of all the new challenges the sports world is facing and requested in 2012 the Standing Committee to start preparing a New Convention. The Standing Committee adopted unanimously a draft convention text in December 2014.

That is how a new Convention, including all the necessary updates and best European practices since thirty years, was ready on 3rd July 2016 to be opened for signature at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on the occasion of the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament.

Its name is the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sport Events (CETS No. 218).