How to behave during Euro 2008

Dignity and restraint, even in the wake of a scintillating victory or a disastrous loss, are essential during Euro 2008, says Austria's etiquette guru.

updated: June 09, 2008 07:14 IST
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Dignity and restraint, even in the wake of a scintillating victory or a disastrous loss, are essential during Euro 2008, says Austria's etiquette guru Thomas Schaefer-Elmayer.

The director of the prestigious Elmayer dance school, which prepares dozens of debutantes annually for the traditional Viennese Opera Ball, has laid down ten rules on how to behave during the Euro.

And dress is of course a primary concern, he says, noting that it is no longer necessary for men to wear a tie to the stadium, as was the custom up until the 1960s.

"Today, casual attire is enough," he told the daily Die Presse.

"But of course, one must come clothed to the stadium, even on hot days. Arriving only in swimming trunks or bare-chested is not appropriate," he said.

Meanwhile, on the underground, which is bound to be full of over-excited fans on match days, "one should remain patient and fall in step with the crowd."

"Pushing and swearing will lead nowhere and only spoil the fun," the elegant Schaefer-Elmayer said.

Anyone with a ticket to see a game is likely to spend several hours next to a complete stranger and there too appropriate behaviour is required.

"It's not the done thing to introduce yourself in the stadium. But at first, one should address other adults formally."

And if a fellow fan, overcome by joy, was to spill his favourite drink on you: "I would urge him to be more careful and then keep my distance."

Without being aggressive, one should be able to prevent further unwanted interaction.

"I would give him a look to dampen his enthusiasm and put an end to all conversation," says Schaefer-Elmayer.

A few white lies can also come in handy at times, for example to rebuff the advances of an over-enthusiastic and effusive fan.

"In an emergency situation, a little lie can help, such as 'Please no, my back hurts!'"

But with fans from so many different countries and cultures descending on host nations Switzerland and Austria in June, a little understanding is necessary to make sure everyone has a good time.

"Tolerance is expected from us. We need to respect other practices, including when they're happening here."

"If you wish to enlighten others about your customs and habits, do this constructively and with sensitivity, it should never be preachy or aggressive."

Closer to home, arguments over the remote control can also be avoided with a little forward planning, says the etiquette master.

"That way everyone can watch what he or she wants, if need be by finding another TV set, at a friend's place for example."

As for the inevitable snack-munching in front of the telly, he has resigned himself to the inevitable.

"When in company, this does not constitute good behaviour and even health-wise it's not ideal."

"But that's not going to change in the future and most certainly not during the Euro."