BERNE, (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter does not want to see any more flares and firecrackers in soccer stadiums and described the people who let them off as arsonists.
“We don’t need fire and flames in the stands,” he wrote in FIFA’s weekly magazine.
“We drum the dangers of fire into every little child but self-styled, grown-up, so-called football fans still ignite flares and let off acrid smoke bombs generating temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius,” he said.
“Where’s the sense in shrouding yourself in a fog and placing others in acute danger?”
“When I encounter these situations I’m overcome by incomprehension.
“Football cannot be misused and degraded by arsonists,” Blatter added.
“Football matches are social occasions and a shared community experience, but grossly negligent behaviour like this means they degenerate into a platform for fanatics and pyromaniacs.”
Blatter, who has also campaigned against standing areas in stadiums, said pyrotechnics deterred families from taking children to see games.
“They turn from a fun family day out into a stage for shameless self-promotion by a regrettable minority. I can quite understand parents stopping their kids going to football grounds after seeing this kind of thing on television.”
Blatter added the clubs knew who the culprits were but were afraid to take action.
“Often enough the fear of losing a paying customer is greater than the readiness to act decisively against the unruly element,” he said.
“Fan liaison must mean working with the real fans, not covering up for troublemakers.”