Fans attending sports events in the UAE could be penalised with a prison term of up to three years, a fine of between Dh10,000 and Dh30,000 or both for racist behaviour from the stands, according to a draft law passed by the Federal National Council on Tuesday.
Under the bill, which requires final endorsement into law by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, organisers of sports events who fail to obtain a permit from authorities or get one fraudulently will face a prison term and fine of between Dh500,000 and Dh1 million.
The bill will authorise the court to ban these organisers for a period of up to two years.
At present, hooligans are prosecuted and heard before a court of law and punished according to the UAE Penal Code.
The draft law addresses the problem of spectator violence in stadiums and other problems related to misbehaviour in sport arenas. It is also related to issues of crowd control and harm that results from spectator-related conflicts within and directly outside the stadiums.
In 2004, special units started to be deployed at football matches across the UAE to deal with unruly fans and cases of hooliganism.
The draft law on security bodies and sports facilities, passed by the Cabinet, regulates the process of ensuring events are safe via checks and commitments by clubs and sports facilities in the UAE.
It also includes a number of conditions for sporting events such as the need to obtain prior approval to stage them, and directs the Interior Ministry to provide sports facilities and obliges the facilities to hire private security companies.