Basel given two-game crowd ban for hooliganism

June 8, 2006

BERN, Switzerland, June 8 (Reuters) - Swiss league runners-up FC Basel have been ordered to play their next two home matches behind closed doors after hooliganism marred the club's title showdown with rivals FC Zurich.

The Swiss football league said on Thursday that a section of the stadium containing the club's most troublesome fans would remain closed for an additional three matches.

The club have also been fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($65,360).

Hundreds of Basel fans invaded the pitch and attacked players after seeing their club surrender the championship to a last-minute Zurich goal during the May 13 encounter.

Police said that more than 100 people had been injured, 15 admitted to hospital and 25 arrested.

FC Zurich were fined 30,000 Swiss francs for separate incidents involving their fans.

Former FC Zurich defender Iulian Filipescu, who scored the game's winning goal, was placed under investigation by the league after television pictures showed him kicking a Basel fan in retaliation.

However the league said on Thursday it had been unable to complete its investigation against the Romanian player following his subsequent decision not to renew his contract with Zurich.

Switzerland, which is set to co-host the 2008 European championship with neighbouring Austria, is introducing new anti-hooliganism laws to tackle a recent rise in violent outbreaks at sporting events.

The Swiss football association announced last week that it had given a list of around 400 known hooligans to World Cup organisers in Germany.

Swiss fans have already been warned about their behaviour by police in the German city of Hanover which is hosting Switzerland's final Group G game against South Korea on June 23.

Deputy police chief Uwe Luehring told Reuters on Tuesday that the city was keeping a close eye on Swiss supporters following unsavoury scenes when Grasshoppers Zurich visited Hanover 96 for a friendly match in January.

On that occasion 50 fans were arrested.