South Africa: Football

Home Department written question – answered on 17th June 2010.

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Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Liberal Democrat, Mid Dorset and North Poole

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Crown Prosecution Service staff are being funded by her Department to attend the football World Cup final in South Africa; how much has been spent on (a) travel, (b) accommodation and (c) other expenses for staff; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

A senior Crown Prosecutor, expert in UK football legislation, has been deployed in South Africa, with the English police delegation, for the duration of the England football team's involvement in the tournament. Their role is to liaise with South African authorities in accordance with an agreement with the South African Ministry of Justice. This has become standard practice since Euro 2004 when uncertainty regarding fast track judicial arrangements put in place for that tournament led to criticism, both in the media and courts here, about court verdicts on England fans convicted of violent disorder. As a result the European Union Handbook on International Police Co-operation for Football Matches recommends that participating countries should consider deploying prosecutors in host countries to assist liaison and clarity. The South African authorities have put in place comparable fast track criminal justice arrangements for dealing with foreign offenders during the 2010 World Cup.

A key role of the Crown Prosecutor in South Africa will be to provide authoritative witness statements regarding the judicial process and the strength of any evidence presented against any England fan convicted in a South African court. This will assist the police and courts here to determine whether or not football banning orders should be sought against the individuals convicted on their return. The Home Office is funding the prosecutor's travel, accommodation and expense costs. I will write to the hon. Member once the final costs are known.

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