What is it about?

Violence in sport, especially at football grounds, remains a problem. Violent behaviour can jeopardise the role of sport as a tool to convey positive values.

Why is it needed?

The Commission recognises that violence in sport does not only concern spectators in major sport events. Unfortunately violence and various forms of intolerance occur in many modalities on the fields of local amateur clubs, especially in team sports. For example, a study on racism and ethnic discrimination in sport (2010) by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency indicates that racism has become more common in amateur sport and even in youth sport. It involves racist and other discriminatory attitudes.

What has been done so far?

The Commission is committed to contributing to the prevention of spectator violence. On the basis of Council Decision 2002/348/JHA on security at international football matches, which was amended in 2007 by Council Decision 2007/412/JHA, data exchange between National Football Information Points has been developed. Exchange of operational information on high-risk supporters among police services and/or sports authorities has been made possible. The Commission also promotes a wide use of the Handbook for Police Cooperation and supports pan-European training for police officers and safety personnel, to prevent and control violence more efficiently.

In its 2011 Communication on sport, the Commission pointed out the importance of investing more in social and educational measures to prevent violence in sport. To ensure that sport keeps its welcoming and enjoyable character and to minimise safety and security risks, all competent agencies should be encouraged to support or implement social and educational measures to prevent violence. The Commission has supported projects in this field since 2009 and has included combatting violence as one of the priorities of the sport chapter of the Erasmus+ programme.

The arrangement for cooperation signed in February 2018 between the Commission and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) aims at consolidating and strengthening the existing cooperation, including in the field of violence.

Since 2016, the Commission is supporting the Council of Europe to promote safety, security and service at sports events (projects ProS4 and ProS4+).

What are the next steps?

The Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020) tackles cross-border threats to the integrity of sport, such as violence, through its sport actions.