'Scenes of war': Belgian Football Association condemns weekend of violence

'Scenes of war': Belgian Football Association condemns weekend of violence
Credit: Belga

The Belgian Football Association has issued a statement in response to a 'football weekend marked by unacceptable incidents'.

The numerous outbursts by fans during the match between Standard and Charleroi and also between Beerschot and Antwerp have tainted Belgian football and once again raise questions on the use of pyrotechnics brought by fans into stadiums, Belga News Agency reports.

On the Belgian Football Union website, the statement read: 'A flare can reach temperatures of 1,500 to 2,000 degrees and cause irreparable burns. Firecrackers explode at 150 decibels and can cause lasting damage to hearing. Racist and discriminatory chants can cause irreversible psychological damage. This has no place in a football stadium, period.'

'The man, a repeat offender, who threw a rocket into the Antwerp supporters' block is under investigation for attempted homicide and arson,' the Union added. 'This is attempted homicide in a football stadium. Those words do not belong in the same sentence. Hooded men have entered the pitch. These are scenes of war and the images are shocking, with the consequence that a match could not be played to its conclusion.'

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At pains to emphasise the gravity of the situation, the Federation deeply regretted the incidents and admitted that 'there is no simple recipe to banish such occurrences from football stadiums. What is needed is an agreement between all clubs and a solid set of preventive and repressive measures.'

The statement reiterated the ban already in place on pyrotechnics in stadiums and impressed the need for a 'zero-tolerance policy towards the use of firecrackers, bangers, smoke bombs and the use of discriminatory chanting.' However, it stated that football clubs alone would not be able to eradicate the problem and called for support from public prosecutors as well as the general public. The Union will consult again this week with the Pro League and the Football Unit of the FPS Interior.

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