Football and Society (Part 3)

Part III

In the this part of my blog, I will be exploring the darker side of footballs influence and the effect it has had on behaviour in our culture. As I said earlier, football has become a massive part of a lot of people’s lives, so much so that people will go to extreme measures to defend the views and beliefs regarding it. A long trail of violence follows football in which vandalism, serious injuries and even deaths have been among the consequences. No other sport in the world has been linked to as many violent incidents among fans as football has. There are many different pieces of evidence to refer to when trying to explain the magnitude of the violence associated with football. One example is when Argentine side Boca Juniors minors played against a local team and a fight broke out on the pitch involving the two sets of players. In a match that was being played for no other reason than to showcase the local talent, fans became so outraged they began to riot and attempted to tear down the steel fence surrounding the pitch in order to attack opposing players. This incident resulted in two deaths, one being that of a nine year boy who had been shot. This incident was a direct result of the indiscipline of the players on the pitch, although of course not all of the violence can be blamed on the players. As is well documented, organised hooliganism has been connected to football in Britain since 1970. These Hooligans cannot be described as fans of football, they are more like members of a cult dedicated to worshipping ‘their club’ and feel that dedication exonerates them from accountability for their violent actions. A lot of these cults or ‘factions’ as they have been dubbed don’t even attend the football matches, they simply travel to meet up with and then brawl with rival factions. This type of behaviour seems to be that of desperate people who simply use football as an excuse to hate someone, and therefore allow themselves vindication for assaulting them. It goes without saying that all football fans are not maniacs, although it is clear that even the rational minded person can get caught up in the crazed senselessness that can occur during a match. A case where this became evident is one where a full stand of rival club fans where mixed together accidentally. This resulted in one set of fans chasing the other to the far end of the stand wall, resulting in said wall being put under so much pressure that it collapsed, killing 39 people. The abuse connected to football is not just limited to the physical however, with the game also having an embarrassing history connected with racism. The most recent case publicised in the media occurred after a match in Paris, when a group of English fans would not allow a Parisian fan aboard a train due to his ethnicity. This violence seems to be decreasing more and more as time goes on, with football clubs and associations doing plenty to combat all of the viciousness associated with the game which I will discuss in more depth in my following posts.

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