Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-247"

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"Mr President, I would like to thank Mr Belet for the way he has gone about writing this report. I do fundamentally disagree with him in some areas, and indeed the massive power-grab that this report is asking for in its recitals, but I welcome the professional way he has conducted himself in writing the report. Yes, there are problems in football, but none that we European politicians cannot make a lot worse. Yes, there are small elements of people who use football matches as an excuse to be violent, and they should be arrested and stopped from attending. But, as many Rangers fans from Glasgow in Scotland will tell you, policing at international fixtures needs to be friendly and sensible, rather than hostile and over the top. Giving EU competence in this matter to us will not stop this violence, and we do not need it to actually swap best practice. This report is a good example of why we should stand back and be sensible. Sport is best governed by those who participate in it. Many of this report’s recommendations are quite sensible, but we are politicians and we simply cannot resist tinkering where we have no right. Just look at the now withdrawn amendment 25; listen to many of the contributions in this debate and you will see why. My theory is that by demanding these new powers we will try and correct problems that do not really exist, and try and change and harmonise the very different sporting models in football that exist across the continent at the moment. As someone who has refereed at the lowest level of the game for 25 years, and having heard much of the debate on this subject over my time in this Parliament, I think we are in great danger here of forgetting that professional football clubs – the ones we are speaking about tonight – are uniquely connected to the millions of amateurs who run out on pitches across Europe every weekend, and we could easily damage the solidarity people here wish to promote and protect by our quite ignorant plea for interference."@en1

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