Match ‘freebies’ banned

A new government decree is set to end police officers, local officials and government workers gaining free entry to sporting fixtures. The legislation, shortly to be passed through the Council of Ministers, will mean public workers will only be able to enter sporting areas with a valid ticket.

If it is passed, the ban on free admission will also extend to magistrates and workers at the Inspectorate General of Work and the Inspectorate General of Taxes. But, in practice, the decree is mainly directed at PSP and GNR officers and criminal investigation agents and will combat the traditional situation of the country’s sports grounds filled with free ticket holders. A conspicuous example of this was at the Portugal-Brazil match in Estádio Alvalade in 2002, when about 5,000 agents from the PSP and the GNR allegedly attended without paying. It is precisely this kind of ‘abuse’ that the government intends to stop.

The legislation will also prevent ministers, secretaries of state and their advisors from gaining free tickets. From now on only those members of the government who are directly responsible for the sport portfolio will be entitled to free entry. Exceptions will be made for the president of the Portuguese Sporting Institute and the president of the Higher Sports Council. The new rules regarding free entry will remain in force after the Euro 2004 tournament.

24 hour judgements

Another part of the decree law sets out formal arrangements for a fast track judicial process in time for the Euro 2004 tournament. The law proposes the creation of 24-hour courts, valid from June 1 to July 11, and the rapid deportation of foreign troublemakers. Another proposal is the creation of detention zones in Porto and Lisbon. The government has justified the measures by stressing, “the need to take special measures to ensure public order and safety”.