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Hooligan risk for Germany v Croatia
An Austrian police consultant says Euro 2008 Group B is the "highest risk group".
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2008 13:59 GMT

Police are hoping there will not be a repeat of the arrests after the first match in Klagenfurt [AFP]

The Euro 2008 Group B match between Germany and Croatia in Klagenfurt is seen as a risk match for security personnel, according to an Austrian police consultant.
 
After the detention of 157 mainly German fans in Klagenfurt on Sunday when their team beat Poland 2-0, the security focus will remain on Group B for Thursday's top of the table match.
"Germany-Croatia is seen most certainly as a risk match. Poland-Austria [also on Thursday] is hard to say though it could also be one," Harald Mathe, hooligan expert, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"This is the group where we are most likely to see such clashes, it is the highest risk group."

Activity after Sunday's Group B matches showed police were well prepared to deal with troublemakers and that cooperation between officers and hooligan experts from other competing nations had paid off.

"We saw in Klagenfurt the German police officers really know their fans very well and have acted at the right time," added Mathe.

"Often hooligans have bad family backgrounds where they experienced violence... "

Harald Mathe,
hooligan expert
About 3,000 police were on duty in Klagenfurt at the weekend including 400 German officers.

Hooligan experts classify fans in three categories.

So-called 'A fans', who just want to enjoy the game, make up between 80-90 per cent of supporters.

'B fans', who account for around 10 per cent, can turn violent after excessive alcohol consumption or when their team are losing.

'C fans', the smallest group, use football as an opportunity for violence, said Mathe.

Bad backgrounds

"Often hooligans have bad family backgrounds where they experienced violence and where they learned conflicts are tackled or solved with violence," he added.

However age and gender also played a major role, Mathe said.

"Most of them are men chock full of testosterone and need to get rid of all their energy."

Law-abiding fans heading to the stadiums or fan zones have little to fear from troublemakers given the security available and the nature of hooliganism.

"Real hooligans are only interested in other hooligans," said Mathe.

"The normal fan has not much to be afraid of, though in general one thing is best, keep as far away as possible from hooligans or groups which are under the heavy influence of alcohol."

Source:
Agencies
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