Germany may bring back border checks for World Cup

BERLIN: Germany could reimpose border controls for the 2006 World Cup to counter the threat of hooliganism, Interior Minister Otto Schily said on Monday. 

“If changes are needed we will consider them, including a reintroduction of (border) checks,” Schily said on the fringes of the Sport Accord conference. 

“We have the possibility under the Schengen agreement. Other countries have done it and if it is necessary we will not shy away from it.” 

Germany is a signatory to the Schengen agreement, which abolished border checks between 15 European Union countries. Travellers from the other 14 Schengen countries are not normally required to show passports. 

The Portuguese government suspended Schengen for the duration of the European Championship last year but there was still trouble as drunken England fans battled police in the southern resort town of Albufeira. Britain has not signed the accord. 

Fears that fan violence could spoil the World Cup have risen sharply after German hooligans caused trouble before, during and after a recent friendly match away to Slovenia. 

Italy has also been battling soccer violence. Inter Milan's Champions League game against AC Milan was abandoned last week when flares were thrown on to the pitch. It was the latest example of a problem that could seriously damage Italy's bid to host the 2012 European championship. – Reuters  

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