§ 14. Mr. Cunliffe
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with fellow European Ministers of Sport on producing a common European football identity card.
§ Mr. Moynihan
None. I gave a report on developments on a national membership scheme for England and Wales at the sixth conference of European Ministers with responsibility for sport in Reykjavik from 30 May to 1 June during the discussion on spectator violence. European Governments are kept informed about the scheme through our membership of the Council of Europe standing committee on spectator violence.
§ Mr. Cunliffe
Is it not a fact that European Ministers laughed out of court the Minister for Sport's proposal for a common European football identity card, which was also condemned by the European Football Association? It is their belief and ours that it would militate against genuine football supporters as against the hooligan element. Can the Minister explain why Britain is once again out of step with Europe?
§ Mr. Moynihan
The answer to all the hon. Gentleman's questions is no. At Reykjavik European Ministers warmly supported our determination to stamp out football hooliganism and the package of measures, including the Football Spectators Bill, that we are putting in place. That may be the reason why Holland and Spain are considering their own membership schemes—which will, rightly, be drawn up as appropriate for the problems that those countries face.
§ Mr. Latham
Will my hon. Friend waste no more time on the European dimension? It will be difficult enough for us to operate the scheme here without worrying about what they do in Italy.
§ Mr Moynihan
As my hon. Friend will know, I am merely answering the question tabled for my response, and that covers Europe. Suffice it to say that I disagree with my hon. Friend about the practicality of the scheme in this country. The strong commitment of the Government and the vote last night has shown not only that we shall see the scheme in place, but that it will prove a very important measure in ending the problems of violence associated with football in this country.