Austrian ultras campaign "Pyrotechnics is not a crime"

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"Pyrotechnics is not a crime" is campaign of Austrian ultras. They are protesting about new pyrotechnics law and fighting to legalize pyro on stadiums.

"Pyrotechnics is not a crime" is campaign of Austrian ultras. They are protesting about new pyrotechnics law and fighting to legalize pyro on stadiums.







Goal of the Campaing:

The newly revised pyrotechnics law has become effective in Austria on January 4th, 2010. This aggravation of the previous legal regulations and primarily the delicate rise of the penalty represent a great interference into the fan culture of the active Austrian football fanclubs, particularly since the active groups or responsible parties of the clubs have not been tied into the decision making of the legislator.

The law was adopted by politicians who have neither notion nor understanding of the matter and those people who work with pyrotechnics on a weekly basis became simply ignored. It became pushed through by Home Secretary Fekter in a high-speed process and is based on untrue representations of numbers and data of the national league and the Home Office. Firstly, these numbers and data justify the necessity of the law with a connection between pyrotechnics and violence which is completely absurd and artificially established and secondly with numerous injuries caused by improper use of pyrotechnic objects in connection with football sporting events.

An even closer look however shows that the cases concretely mentioned are damages, which were caused by firecrackers. These so-called “bangers” are though also rejected by the fan scenes of this country as they embody a risk potential which should not be treated lightly. Bengal firework, however, is responsibly used for years and used by many fan blocks of the country without incidences worth mentioning.

However, a certain risk cannot be denied, as with other things (e.g. traffic, professional world, …) but this risk can almost become eliminated by responsible dealing with pyrotechnic objects and the last years have shown that there existed and exist no problems with Bengal firework at normal use.

In addition, there exist many possibilities to make the use of pyrotechnics even safer, but outside the fan scenes there never were efforts though to take measures for the prevention of possible accidents. Rather, it was the purposeful attempt of politics and media to criminalize football fans and to restrict and limit their rights.

Over years torches provided atmosphere, emotions and the so often quoted southern atmosphere in Austria’s football stadiums. Clubs, press and TV have profited from these pictures for years but simultaneously denigrate and denunciate them.

The Austrian broadcast, for example, regularly advertises forthcoming sporting events with fiery atmospheric pictures. While it often comes to praising words by commentators at the winter sports, though, a fiery scenery is always associated with violence at football. This circumstance withdraws from any reality because pyrotechnic objects serve for the visual background of emotions at sporting events. They are neither expression of aggressions nor shall they mediate propensity to violence in any way.

We would first like to say that we are not at all against pyro near ski tracks but want to show the predominant double moral standards with which the very same topic is raised in public but presented extremely differently by the media.

Pyrotechnics – as an expression of emotions – must not be forbidden or reprimanded and least of all be subject to penalties in the sports.

The conceived exemptions are not an option for us since they can be interpreted as pure alibi action of the legislator. We strictly reject these since through this every emotionality, spontaneity and autonomy would get lost.

We clearly declare, however, in favour of:

* Not using firecrackers or bangers
* Not provoking game interruptions by handling pyrotechnics responsibly and posing no danger to other stadium visitors, ball kids or personnel
* By providing containers filled with water or sand to ensure a safe burning off inside the fan sector and thereby also provide an orderly disposal of the burnt down and hot objects
* Not throwing torches or other pyrotechnic objects on the runway or playing field

We request all responsible parties to allow a controlled and responsible use of pyrotechnics with respect to acceptable and adequate limits in appropriate conditions for all persons involved.