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PARIS – The Council of Europe Convention on an integrated safety, security and service approach at football matches and other sports events was opened for signature at a ceremony held the Stade de France, in the presence of several European ministers.

The Convention was signed by 14 States: Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine.

“This convention is a major step forward to boost international co-operation needed to make football matches and other sporting events safe, secure and enjoyable for supporters. It’s an opportune moment, with preparations underway for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, and UEFA’s Euro 2020, which will be held in 13 countries around Europe” said Thorbjorn Jagland, Council of Europe Secretary General.

“UEFA is very pleased that the Council of Europe and European States take the security and safety of all participants in sport events very seriously, and we are looking forward to continuously working closely with all stakeholders to ensure peaceful and safe football matches across the continent” said Michael van Praag, UEFA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the UEFA Stadia and Security Committee.

“The Convention we are signing today sends out a strong signal of our commitment to preventing and combatting violence in the stadiums, by placing the dialogue between the different actors and the relationship between the public authorities and the fans at the centre of the organisation of major international sporting events”, said Thierry Braillard, France’s State Secretary for Sport.

The Convention aims to promote hospitality and safety of spectators inside and outside stadiums, improve dialogue between the police, local authorities, football clubs and supporters, strengthen international police co-operation, and to prevent and punish hooliganism through effective measures.

It is open to Council of Europe member and non-member states and will come into force following its ratification by three signatory states.

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