With 24 European nations set to compete and approximately 2.7 million tickets expected to be sold for the matches, the European Championship 2024 (Euro 2024) in Germany will be a major sporting event drawing vast crowds. Amidst the excitement and enthusiasm, both minor and major criminal offences committed by visiting fans are inevitable, ranging from cannabis consumption in stadiums to riding e-scooters under the influence. Often, the news only highlights a list of prohibitions, overlooking the intricate legal framework behind them.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our criminal defence lawyers are dedicated to representing and advising individuals facing such accusations, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the event. We understand that facing the German legal landscape during such a large-scale event can be daunting, especially for visitors unfamiliar with local laws. Our team is well-versed in the specific legal challenges that can arise during the European Championship, including issues related to public intoxication, drug possession, disorderly conduct, and traffic violations.

We believe in providing comprehensive legal support, including defence in criminal proceedings in Germany and proactive advice to help attendees avoid legal pitfalls. Our guide aims to educate fans, visitors, and participants about their rights and responsibilities, offering practical advice on how to enjoy the championship safely and within the bounds of the law. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for specialised legal counsel from our legal professionals

You can contact our law firm at any time if you have a specific problem or a legal question. Our lawyers are available by phone and email and also offer the option of video conferencing. For more legal information, please visit our criminal law page.

Rules of Conduct in Stadiums at Euro 2024

Far-Reaching Bans on Bringing Alcoholic Beverages, Pyrotechnics and Vuvuzelas

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all attendees during Euro 2024, a range of conduct rules and bans are in place for stadium visits. The German government has implemented several measures to protect spectators in light of heightened security concerns, such as the risk of attacks at significant events.

Prohibited Items and Activities

  • Alcoholic Beverages: Fans are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages into stadiums and from bringing their own food.
  • Pyrotechnics and Fireworks: The use or possession of any pyrotechnics or fireworks is banned.
  • Vuvuzelas: These loud instruments are not allowed within stadium premises.

Security Measures

  • Bag Restrictions: Only small bags up to the size of an A4 sheet of paper are permitted in the stadiums.
  • Travel Restrictions: Visitors are not allowed to travel by car to most stadiums. However, FIFA offers special permits for certain venues, such as the Munich Football Arena (Allianz Arena).

Enforcement and Penalties

  • Fines and Seizures: Violations of these bans, such as consuming alcoholic beverages brought into the stadium, can result in fines of up to €500. Security personnel are authorised to seize prohibited items.
  • Stadium Expulsion: Serious breaches, such as the use of pyrotechnics or fireworks, may lead to expulsion from the stadium.

These measures are designed to maintain a secure environment for all attendees.

Absolute Ban on Cannabis in Stadiums

Despite the partial legalisation of cannabis in Germany in April 2024, which permits possession of up to 25 grams for personal use in certain areas for individuals of legal age, strict regulations apply to its consumption during the European Championship 2024. There is an absolute ban on the consumption of cannabis within stadiums and within a 100-meter radius of their entrances. Violations of this ban can result in significant fines.

Rules of Conduct in Fan Zones and Public Viewing Events

Football fans and travellers should be aware of specific rules in the vicinity of matches to avoid high fines, imprisonment, or the revocation of their driver’s licenses.

Ban on Cannabis Consumption During E-Scooter Rides

Despite the partial legalisation of cannabis in Germany, there are no changes regarding its use while operating e-scooters or other vehicles. An absolute ban on cannabis consumption remains in effect for all road traffic participants, including drivers of cars and e-scooters. According to the Cannabis Act, only those who have not consumed any cannabis are considered fit to drive.

Violations of this ban can lead to various consequences, ranging from fines and driving bans to criminal convictions. For instance, if an accident results in serious injuries, the driver will likely face severe criminal prosecution. Similar to driving under the influence of alcohol, behaviours such as weaving, tailgating, and other minor traffic violations are indicators of driving under the influence of drugs.

Absolute Ban on Cannabis Consumption at Fan Zone Public Viewings

At most public viewing events, an absolute ban on cannabis consumption is enforced. UEFA has implemented this ban in all fan zones at venues like Heumarkt and Tanzbrunnen in Cologne.

There are slightly fewer restrictions for public viewing outside fan zones. In pedestrian areas that are not designated as fan zones, a time-limited absolute ban applies from 07:00 to 20:00. Consumption is permanently prohibited in and around children’s and youth facilities such as schools and playgrounds. Violations can result in fines or imprisonment for up to three years, with penalties increasing from three months to five years in particularly serious cases.

Mass Brawls by Hooligan Groups Punishable Despite Consent

Given the attraction of international football tournaments for violent hooligan groups, the German government will establish border controls at all German borders during the European Championships. Mass brawls involving these groups will be prosecuted in Germany, regardless of the participants’ consent. The involvement of law enforcement officers ensures that convictions for simple, grievous, and dangerous bodily harm and participation in a brawl are pursued. These offences can result in severe penalties, including up to three years imprisonment.

Legal Advice and Criminal Defence by Schlun & Elseven

As a full-service law firm, Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte has extensive expertise in German criminal law and is available to answer any questions you may have about avoiding fines or prison sentences during Euro 2024. Our team offers comprehensive legal advice and is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for your case. Trust us to provide reliable and competent legal support throughout the tournament. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for specialised legal guidance.