Wednesday, December 10 th, 2014
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Ultras-related complications: Serie A clubs will pay for Police overtime
Italian government approved a law to tighten up sanctions against ultras. Clubs also will have to pay the bill
by Marco Bellinazzo
The stadium DI has become law. The green light came from the Senate on 15 October by a vote of confidence made by the Government. The key innovations made law concern the Daspo measures (D.A.SPO. Divieto di Accedere alle manifestazioni SPOrtive; Prohibition of access to sporting events) such as deferred arrests, a ‘security’ tax of 1-3% of stadium revenues paid by the football club, and the power for police to use Tasers (an electroshock pistol).

The new Daspo. Stadium bans of at least three years will be issued against those responsible for acts of group violence (where there is evidence of active individual participation) and from 5-8 years for repeat offenders (and will be required to report to police stations). The Daspo can also be applied to those who have been denounced or condemned for the display of offensive, violent or racist banners, for public order offences and other serious crimes such as robbery, possession of explosives and drug dealing. The Daspo can, irrespective of complaints or convictions, also punish those who commit similar offences while abroad.

Sporting fraud. Penalties for committing fraud in sports competitions are significantly increased: individuals caught ‘buying or selling’ a match may in the future risk up to 9 years in prison. This crackdown, which covers simple sporting fraud to an aggravated criminal conspiracy to influence sports betting, will allow the use of wire-taps, arrests in flagrante delicto (caught red-handed) and precautionary incarcerations.

Other anti-violence measures. Banning orders for travelling supporters for one or two seasons in the case of serious acts of violence: the minister of the Interior (the Home Office) will have the right to close - for up to two years - a stadium’s away stands and prohibit the sale of tickets to supporters hailing from the away team’s province. The so-called arresto in flagranza differita (a deferred arrest in flagrante delicto, when the police are unable to immediately arrest somebody due to safety reasons, they have 48 hours where they can still legally arrest the person ‘red-handed’) is now permitted against those singing chants or displaying banners which incite racial or ethnic discrimination. On par with the treatment of organised criminals or terrorists, Daspo repeat offenders and other dangerous ultras may be subjected to special surveillance supplemented, if necessary by other preventive measures such as travel prohibitions. Police will be eventually be supplied with electroshock pistols for a trial period. This experiment will be required to take into account health and safety precautions.

Club responsibility for security. Football clubs will have to pay a percentage (1 to 3%) of stadium revenue to pay for the overtime of police officers. The Government will establish the sum within 60 days, which may vary between 2 and 6 million Euro. The idea of linking the ‘tax’ to the total turnover of the club, to recuperate the 25 million Euro (the minimum financial requirement) that the measures require has been weakened during the parliamentary proceedings.

The reaction of the League. “I confirm our appreciation for the contents of the security measures and we confirm that the institutions and sporting components fundamentally agree, however the costs imposed are iniquitous.” These are the comments of Maurizio Beretta, president of the Lega Serie A. “The measures – continued Beretta – will enhance stadium security and will improve the lives of decent fans. It will also be easier to identify the small minority who with their unacceptable behaviour hurt the entire football world. Unfortunately, within this measure is a withdrawal from the stadium revenues to cover the costs and on this point we are absolutely not in agreement. I repeat: Italian football (and in particular Serie A) is an extremely important benefactor and guarantees significant direct and indirect revenue to the Treasury. All stadium security related expenses have been covered for some time already.”

Translation by Anthony Pepe

Wednesday, October 29 th, 2014
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