Football Hooligans

Football HooligansWhile there is no doubt at all that football, or soccer as it is called in some parts, is the world game and followed and played my millions. Often referred to as ‘The Beautiful Game’, it has a darker side that makes this title wear a bit thin.

It is an unfortunate fact that football attracts the ugliest of crowds for any sport in the world. Even here is peaceful Switzerland, crowd riots, acts of thuggery and gang styled street rampages are a standard weekend event for our police. Almost every country in the world suffers from this ugly sideshow to what is really a non-contact and non-violent sport.

Far more aggressive sports such as rugby, American football and Australian football attract large crows too, but they are well behaved and there to enjoy the match or game. Not to start gang warfare on the terraces. Almost without exception, sports that attract large crowds are well behaved and attended for the sport and entertainment.

So what is different about football? While I’m sure law enforcement authorities, FIFA and UEFA have studied this ugly side to the game, and try to take the best measures possible to minimise the ugly crowd behaviour, I have my own simplistic opinion as to the root cause.

In my mind it is the only major sport in the world where players show little or no respect for the referee. In other words, no respect for authority. Players in the major clubs across Europe, who are paid millions, act like spoiled children when penalised. Screaming and yelling at the referee every time he makes a decision. Serena Williams was roundly hounded for arguing with the referee at the US Open, and rightly so. In most sports, failing to abide by the referee or umpire’s decision results immediately in heavy fines or suspension.

Although rugby is one of the most physical of sports in the world, respect for the referee the opposing players and authority is unquestioned. As it is in so many sports.

It’s a pity that footballers have never understood this fundamental part of playing sport. Until they learn to show respect for their game, their opposition and the referee, there will never be respect shown from the terraces.

8 thoughts on “Football Hooligans”

  1. Give me Rugby Union and Rugby League over the game with the round ball any day. By the way Derek – my commiserations – Aussie lost to the better side today by 20 – 6. The All Blacks rule. Next week its France’s turn to be humiliated by the greatest rugby team in the world, hailing from little old New Zealand. :D

  2. Craig Huckstep

    I have always thought that the violence in soccer has been caused by the frustration that builds up in anticipation that something is about to happen in the game. When nothing does happen, the frustration boils over. I recently had a english friend over to Australia who I took to see the mighty Hawthorn football club play at the MCG. He asked why the supporters don’t sing songs like the do in english soccer, I simply stated that there is no need to try and entertain ourselves. This is why we paid our money when we came through the gate. The entertainment is on the field.
    Simply the best game in the world is Australian Rules Football. No need for a side show, like the Hakka.

    1. You might be right Craig. A 0-0 scoreline is a great way to find you just wasted your entry fee.

      But in Aussie football crowds there has been some violence. I recall once being beaten badly by an umbrella brandished by an old lady (Hawthorn supporter) at Glenferie Oval when I was supporting the Eagles. Plus by a ‘lady’ supporting Collingwood, who threatened me with her shoe at the MCG!

      But I really think the ‘Haka’ might be a good thing for Collingwood. Anything would help them! lol

  3. Perhaps there’s less fighting at North American football because the players all have English degrees?

    Perhaps that sounds elitist or maybe just mildly amusing, but compare it to Hockey. Football gets most of their players from the universities while hockey relies on farm teams. I’ve never seen a fight at footbal, but I cringe every time I walk into the stadium to watch an NHL match.

    Don’t even think of venturing into the parking lot after hockey. If you don’t get dragged into a melee, you might just get run down by a drunk who hasn’t yet reached the police checkstop at the gate.

    You wouldn’t believe the garbage shouted by parents at little league hockey.

  4. I nearly mentioned hockey Andrew. But when I can’t even see the object that defines the game, I can hardly call it a spectator sport. I will refrain from making a puck gag here.

    But as you say, it has a bad reputation for crowd behaviour. Same here too unfortunately.

  5. I think it’s more likely to do with social and economic issues generating an angry element of young men who are proud of their club, their area and get involved because of this. It’s also very exciting and a bit of a laugh with their mates.

    1. Probably Afceie. But isn’t this true of all codes of football? Followers of all football codes are proud of their club and come from a range of social and economic demographics, but we don’t see ugly anti social behaviour from rugby, rugby league or American football crowds.

  6. I think that traditionally football has been mainly attended by working class men (in the uk anyway) who are probably more affected by unemployment, lack of opportunity and frustration. I don’t know the stats but I would imagine there is a very different demographic at football and rugby for instance. A bit of a sweeping statement I know but I think it’s more of a factor than players arguing with the ref.

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