Ed. Note..This was an old post I did way back when and figuered I would bring it out of retirement onto CHI to see what people have to say about violence in football.
Remember the old adage, ‘Enough is enough?’ Well, I ask myself, especially with most of Europe’s top leagues winding down and the EPL champs already crowned, one question that needs to be addressed in this off-season.
When is football violence going to be controlled?
I ask this question because too many times since this past September I have watched on Spanish television countless numbers of fans being beaten by riot police most notably the Manchester United fans who are taking the beating in the above picture. I’ve also witnessed fans riot in Sicily resulting in one police officer being killed, (yes killed). And I continue to ask myself for what??? A football game?? Your ‘allegiance’ to your team?? Come on now, this needs to stop.
For those of you in the American sphere and are not aware of what’s going on, or how crazy football can be. I can make an easy comparison. I went to Ohio State and watched as many a Buckeye lay waste to couches, chairs, bookstores, anything flammable in the immediate area. I was also a part of many Ohio State vs. Michigan games. However, there was a difference. When a Michigan fan walked by and some people yelled ‘Michigan (fill in your expletive here)’ that was the end. Some people did a bit more, sure there was a fight or two, but those are few and far between.
Now, taking it back to Spain. In Sevilla there are two ‘La Liga’ teams, Betis and Sevilla. Now, I’m a Sevillana (aka I root for Sevilla) and I was a part of a ‘derbi’ which is when both teams play each other. Hearing horror stories, I wasn’t expecting much as I have seen the OSU-UM games enough to know what a rivalry is. However, I watched in awe and complete shock as a Betis fan walked in front of a group of Sevilla fans and was beaten so bad that the police arrested all of the fans and the Betis fan was rushed to the hospital with ‘life-threatening’ injuries. And why you ask? No reason, it was because he was wearing a Betis jersey.
There is all sorts of violence that exists in football. This year’s Barcelona-Espanyol game featured Molotov Cocktails and riot police escorting Barcelona fans into Espanyol’s stadium before kickoff for fear of large scale fighting. Sevilla and Betis fans clash everytime a game is played, and even this year a fan threw a bottle down from the stands which knocked Sevilla coach Juande Ramos unconscious and forced the game to be stopped and replayed behind closed doors. Manchester United fans took a savage beating from Italian Riot Police and 11 were taken to hospital. But this came after Man U fans were seen tossing ‘missiles’ (which is a fancy name for ’stuff’) at opposing Roma fans. Newcastle fans were beaten by Spanish ‘Guardia Civil’ in the opening legn in the UEFA Cup in Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium for chanting and singing. It’s a football match, that’s going to happen.