Bulgaria tightens law against hooliganism

Bulgaria on Thursday strengthened measures against hooliganism at football matches, after violence marred last season and saw two police officers injured in April.

The parliament passed legal amendments that allow detention up to 25 days, community work up to 220 hours and fines up to 5,000 leva (2,500 euros), six times the average monthly salary in the European Union's poorest country.

Until now, hooligans faced a detention of up to 20 days and a fine of up to 2,000 leva (1,000 euros). Community work was not part of the penalties.

The amendments were introduced after several cases of violence.

In April, two police officers were injured during a match between the country's two most popular clubs, Levski and CSKA. A small home-made bomb shattered a glass door, injuring one of the officers in the eye.

Parliament also decided that fans' IDs will be scanned, while installing surveillance cameras has become mandatory and selling alcohol strictly forbidden under the new law.

Participating in fights is punishable by a fine and a ban from sports events in Bulgaria and abroad for one or two years.

The law says hooliganism includes carrying explosives and fireworks, storming the pitch, wearing masks, making vulgar insults and inciting racial, ethnic or religious hatred or violence.

The new top-flight season in Bulgaria started last weekend.

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