Platini calls for fences to be scrapped in stadiums

Updated: 2007-03-15 09:28

UEFA president Michel Platini said on Wednesday European Union governments should get rid of fences in all stadiums across the 27-member bloc as part of new EU standards for sports.

Platini's call comes a day after EU sports ministers proposed strengthening security measures at sports events in the EU, including new EU-wide standards for stadiums and security personnel.

"I'm totally against fences, but these issues are dealt with by the governments and local authorities. I would like to see them removed," Platini told a briefing in London.

Manchester United fans were caught in a crush at a recent Champions League match between their team and French club Lille in the city of Lens, sparking criticism from Sepp Blatter, president of soccer's world governing body FIFA.

Blatter blamed the fences at Lens's Felix-Bollaert Stadium for the heightened danger while Platini recalled that as co-president of France's 1998 World Cup organising committee he tried to persuade Lens to remove them.

"When you cage people in they react like animals and I don't mean that in a nasty way, but the instinct is to fight your way out," Platini said.

Britain has already introduced legislation that prohibits fencing in soccer stadiums following various crowd problems, some of which led to the deaths of fans.

EU government officials said a number of recommendations proposed by their ministers were mainly based on the British model.

Platini also praised the British authorities and football associations for their tackling of the problem of hooliganism.

In the last month, authorities in France, Germany, Spain and Serbia have had to deal with violent incidents linked to soccer.

On Monday, Platini sought the help of governments in a bid to rid soccer of increased violence and racism, saying the game's authorities could "not act alone" in dealing with the increasing off-the-pitch problems.

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