Latin America & Caribbean

Tougher sanctions against football hooligans in Chile

A woman cleans Chile's National Stadium in Santiago (09/06/2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The opening ceremony and the first match of the Copa America 2015 will be held at the National Stadium in Santiago on 11 June

Chile's government has introduced tougher sanctions against violence and racism at football matches.

It increases fines and jail sentences for those who break the law and will be applied to fans and clubs alike.

"We want to make sure that fans and families can enjoy the game safely and in pleasant conditions," said Interior Minister Jorge Burgos.

Chile will host the Copa America 2015 tournament, which kicks off on Thursday.

The new law will also punish violence during training sessions, during the movement or transportation of fans, and at celebrations in public places.

Clubs could be fined for discrimination, racism and xenophobia.

"We will do all that we can to put an end to violence and give the sport the feeling of a community celebration," said Mr Burgos.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chile will face Ecuador in the first match of the Copa America 2015
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Argentina will play the group B matches along with Paraguay, Uruguay and Jamaica
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Brazil will play in group C with Colombia, Peru and Venezuela

Twelve national teams from the Americas will be taking part in the tournament from 11 June to 4 July.

Football violence is a huge problem in some South American countries.

In Argentina, the so-called Barras Bravas, gangs of radical supporters who control the terraces and the streets around the stadiums, have been blamed for many deaths in recent years.

But fans in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Brazil, among others, have also encountered violence at football matches.

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