The Pro League, the Royal Belgian Football Association, the Federal Government Department for the Interior and Minister of the Interior, Annelies Verlinden presented their plan of action "Together for safe football". This plan of action came about at Minister Annelies Verlinden's request, in cooperation with the police and the professional clubs. The aim of the plan is to ensure that football matches take place in safe and enjoyable conditions.
Just like in other countries, there has been an increase in the number of incidents in and around football stadiums. Under the guise of creating a good atmosphere, a handful of supporters and hooligans are ruining the experience, and damaging the image of the football.
After several unpleasant incidents, the safety policy in and around football stadiums was evaluated at Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden's request. A stricter approach is needed to change attitudes and to put a halt to the bad behaviour of a minority. With the plan of action, all parties undertake to pull together. Joining forces for a safe football experience.
“The renewed approach is based on three basic principles: increasing the chances of being caught in the event of violations, enforcing and following up sanctions more quickly and a uniform approach to incidents in all stadiums. To be successful, all football stakeholders must take their responsibility. I am therefore delighted that all partners are joining forces to ensure that football takes place in the safest and most enjoyable conditions", says Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden.
If we want football to grow and welcome new fans in our stadiums, a safe match experience is the starting point.
“Safety is an absolute priority for the Pro League and its clubs. If we want football to grow and welcome new fans in our stadiums, a safe match experience is the starting point. Together with the clubs we’ll take our responsibility, in dialogue with the minister, the Royal Belgian Football Association, the police but the fans too of course. This plan will be developed further with our supporters, we will follow it up with them and make adjustments where necessary," said Lorin Parys, CEO of the Pro League.
Bans within 25 working days
"But we're also strict on people who endanger others," he continued. "For example, uniform and severe sanctions are in place which include a lifelong stadium ban for repeat offenders. We’ll also focus on better access control with registered tickets, investments in infrastructure and technology, and rapid enforcement. For example, we can now make external decisions on stadium bans within 25 working days, including appeals.”
“Fans want to experience football in a safe atmosphere. All parties in football are now uniting around that goal and that unity is important. The government, the clubs, the Pro League and the Royal Belgian Football Association all have the ambition to ban violence, racism, discrimination and the use of pyrotechnics from our stadiums. Everyone bears responsibility for this, but the cooperation between all parties is equally crucial," adds Peter Bossaert, CEO of the Royal Belgian Football Federation.
The plan of action - attached - is based on five pillars, with concrete actions and clear responsibilities for the stakeholders:
- awareness and communication.
- infrastructure and technology.
- investment in safety staff.
- means of action / organisational framework.
The plan of action will take effect next season.