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Swiss soccer fan jailed for fireworks offence at game

ZURICH (Reuters) - A 24-year-old Swiss soccer fan was handed a prison term on Wednesday for setting off fireworks at a game which damaged another supporter's hearing.

The man from Herisau in eastern Switzerland, a supporter of FC St. Gallen, must serve at least 18 months of a 36-month sentence and pay a fine of 9,700 Swiss francs ($10,058), according to the Swiss Criminal Court ruling.

He must also pay 15,000 francs in court costs and 12,000 francs to the fan whose hearing was so badly damaged in the Feb. 21, 2016, incident at a stadium in Lucerne that he required surgery.

The ruling can be appealed against.

The St. Gallen fan, who was not named by the authorities, had been accused of throwing the fireworks onto the pitch during the game against Lucerne.

He has also been banned from Swiss stadiums for 10 years.

The decision to imprison him is seen as setting a precedent in Switzerland where several teams have struggled to rein in hooligans who smuggle fireworks into games, fight and disrupt public transport on match days.

($1 = 0.9644 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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