Soccer match riot helps brings about new legislation for hooligans

Spectators convicted of violence-related offenses at sporting events could be banned from matches for up to 10 years under new legislation in New South Wales state.

The law, to be introduced into state parliament in the next week, would see bans for a first offense set at up to five years, and up to 10 years for a second offense.

The state government began considering the introduction of an anti-hooligan law after a riot at a match between the Sydney United and Bonnyrigg White Eagles soccer clubs in Sydney in March.

State Premier Morris Iemma said Sunday people who breach the bans could be sent to prison for up to six months.

"We know the majority of fans who go to sporting fixtures do so with the intention of supporting their teams and enjoying the game with family and friends," he said in a statement.

"The penalties we are imposing are intended to send a timely message to deter the minority ratbag element who have no regard for the enjoyment and safety of others.", AP reported.

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