By Tom Degun at the International Sport Security Conference in Doha

Helmut Spahn_Professor_Harald_Lange_Mohammed_Al-Hajri_15-03-12March 15 - The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Germany's Institute for Fan Culture in order to develop and share knowledge within the field of violence and hooliganism in sport.

The Institute for Fan Culture is a new academic institution – led by sport science expert Professor Harald Lange (pictured centre) and co-founder Martin Thein – where international experts carry out research exploring the psychology and behaviour of fans around the world.

The aim of the research is to understand the causes of violence and hooliganism at sporting events and what can be done to proactively reduce such behaviour, while actively involving fans from a variety of social groups, as well as leading sporting organisation's and security experts.

The announcement and signing of the MoU was made on the final day of the second International Sport Security Conference here and Professor Lange said it marked an important step.

"The Institute for Fan Culture brings together leading academics from the field of sociology, political science, criminology and social psychology as well as sporting experts," he said.

"Our new partnership with the ICSS is an important step in helping us to understand and address fan violence and extremism at major events."

The conference also heard from Helmut Spahn (pictured left), the executive director of the ICSS and head of security for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.

Spahn, who has over 30 years' experience in security, specialist training, and stadium and crowd management, said the agreement was very important.

"There is an essential need to understand the thinking and motivation of different fan groups," he said.

"Knowing why violence and misbehaviour occurs is the single most important factor in helping us create successful concepts to prevent them.

"Fan culture differs by sport and by global region this is why research in the field of fan culture is necessary.

"Of course, knowledge of fan culture and how best to address violence, will only work effectively alongside well-designed infrastructure and first-class safety and security management."

Professor Harald_Lange_Mohammed_Al-Hajri_15-03-12
The agreement was signed by Mohammed Al Hajri (pictured right), the vice-president of the ICSS, while it also drew praise from ICSS President Mohammed Hanzab.

"Today's conference presentations and recent events in Egypt have tragically reminded us of the critical importance of hosting safe sporting events," Hanzab said.

"The ICSS is committed to enhancing safety and security in the world of sport and this new project is a critical step towards our goal of becoming a global hub for sport security expertise.

"I look forward to working with the team at the Institute for Fan Culture and the University of Würzburg in the coming months.

"Our research collaboration will provide an important step in understanding sports fans around the world and what influence politics and society have on their behaviour today."

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