Press release - 142(2010)

Ultras and Police: A good match!

Vienna (Austria), 18.02.2010 – The first international conference on the subject of Ultras, held on 17 and 18 February, jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, paved the way for a genuine dialogue between supporters and the police, a better understanding of each other's responsibilities and needs in ensuring safety and security in and outside stadiums, and an increased involvement of supporters' associations in the preparation of football matches.

Among the participants were members of the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe in charge of Prevention of Spectator Violence at Sports events, in particular at Football Matches, the board of the Football Supporters' Network "Football Supporters Europe”, Ultras representatives appointed by FSE, representatives of the Football Federations UEFA and FIFA, the organisers of the EURO 2012, and academic representatives concentrating on "Ultras"-research.

Study on Supporters' Behaviour
The discussion was opened by presenting the study on the developments of the Ultras scene in Europe completed by Professor Gunter Pilz (University of Hannover) on behalf of the Standing Committee. Afterwards solutions for the problems in question were jointly elaborated in three workshops.

The starting point in all three workshops appeared to be the fact that the ultras felt excluded in many ways, and that police and organisers also to a certain extent complained about a lack of understanding.

The conference showed that all individuals concerned are willing to enter into a dialogue process and that by talking to each other obstacles can be overcome. Hence, the conference participants recommended to continue the dialogue, for instance, in form of a "Think Tank" in which all groups would be represented. Many successful models ("Best Practices") are already in place in various places which, however, are not shared. Therefore, the conference participants also recommended to enhance the exchange of know-how between all parties concerned.

Inter alia, the "Hannover Model of Conflict Management" was presented. In the run-up to matches, police conflict managers get into contact with fans and solve conflicts.

According to an evaluation made on the spot, 84 per cent of the participants felt the atmosphere during the conference to be pleasant. Two thirds appreciated the dialogue between supporters, police and organisers.

Implementation of the results
Among the first steps in the implementation of the results will be enhanced cooperation between the existing National Football Information Points on the one hand, and the organised fan groups and the supporters' network "Football Supporters Europe" within the bodies of the European Union on the other hand.

The Standing Committee of the Council of Europe shall issue a recommendation to this effect focusing inter alia upon best practices, self-regulation among fans and sharing responsibility. The Council of Europe will also ensure that supporters and clubs are better associated with its work in order to further develop dialogue and cooperation of all the actors of the football scene, or at other sport events, like for example ice-hockey.

Press contacts:
Estelle Steiner, Council of Europe
Tel. +33 (0)3 88 41 33 35, mobile +33 (0)6 08 46 01 57,
Harald Noschiel, Austrian Ministry of the Interior
Tel. +43 (0)1 53 126 23 05,

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11