Football Hooliganism

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  • Přidal/a: anonymous
  • Datum přidání: 05. července 2007
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Football Hooliganism

Violence is associated with football from the very beginning of this probably the most popular game in the world. This essay will try look closer at the problem of football hooliganism, show the history of football and football violence, the British government policy and the attitude of media to this issue.
Although games based on kicking the ball are known from ancient Egypt, Greek and also from the Bible root of modern football are in medieval England. In the 13th century, it was a game of young apprentices played with a ball made of inflated pig bladder. The goal was a designated church door. The game itself was usually only a disguise to gather and fight with the rivals whoever it was. These battles were very wild and often ended up in serious injuries or even deaths of the participants. Similar games were known also Europe; in Germany it was Knappen and in Italy (Florence) it was calcio. The industrialisation in the 19th century caused that football was played only in rural areas and in some public schools. Later in the 19th century, the Football Association was established. The Association create rules to football and organised matches. In this form football was brought to the rest of Europe. Late 19th century was also a time when club sponsored by newspapers and magazines emerged. Although there was still lots of violence (in 1909 riot of 6000spectators in Scotland was reported) fighting on the terraces was rare.
1930’s till 1960’s was quite chilled period in which women attendance to football matches increased. The rise of football hooliganism as we know it now was in the 60’s. It was caused by strong patriotism and the new government’s immigration policy. It was also influenced by youth protest movements (Moods, Skinheads…). Football-related violence suddenly highly increased. Football fans became more organised. They were chanting, singing and waving displays and slogans on the terraces. Very popular was “taking ends” (it means force rival fans out of their viewing area and taking their scarves and flags. Fans also organised trips to follow their team to all matches. In this time, huge hooligan movement started in the whole Europe.
In the process of time, football hooliganism changed it’s form. The game itself was not important any more. Hooligans didn’t want to see the match, they only wanted to fight with the police or rivals. They usually didn’t even get to the stadium. Violence was probably just a way of releasing stress for them.

Alcohol definitely holds a part of the responsibility for all this. It’s also known that people behave in different way when they are in a crowd. They don’t feel responsibility for their acts.
Nowadays, hooligans started using new technologies. They use the Internet and mobile phones to organise fights. The idea is to meet on a pre-arranged place, to avoid police intervention. But if these fights are arranged away from the stadiums, is it still a football violence?
Hooligans are active on the Internet, too. There are numerous web sites with photographs, comments on various fights, chat-rooms. And again, hooligan web sites on the Internet it’s not only English specialisation.
Who is a football hooligan actually? It could be anybody – age and class does not matter. It’s not only adolescent boys who search for identity, there is also quite a large number of older hooligans who are involved in this activity since their teens. Mainly young fans wear casual, designer clothes, but not necessarily.
The British government policy to football hooliganism changed after 15th April 1989. At the FA cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest happened a tragedy that is known as Hillsborough disaster. The stadium became overcrowded and people got crushed on the steel barrier. Even though the match was stopped after 6 minutes 95 Liverpool fns died. The Football Spectators Act 1989 was introduced, The Football (Offences)Act 1991, The Football (Offences and Disorder) Bill 1998 and The Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 followed. The last one changed the definition of football-related offences. Only disorder that happened immediately before and after match used to be considered a football-related. The Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 changed the period to 24 hours either side of the match. The National Criminal Intelligence Service consider also drunkenness, running on to the pitch, ticket touting, obscene gestures and offensive chanting to be an offence. Drink-related offences includes to be drunk or in possession of alcohol on the football coach or train, to enter a stadium drunk and to drink alcohol within a view of the pitch. After EURO2000 in Belgium, new and even more strict law (The Football (Disorder) Act 2000) was introduced. It was because of the riots in Belgian Charleroi. Censorship of chanting and singing occurred as well. No racist chants are allowed and also those containing sings of sexism, ageism and illiteracy.

Ironically, more and more anti-hooligan laws are being introduced whereas ate arrests for football-related offences are lower that in the 80’s.
What is the relation between hooliganism and media? The magazines and newspapers that sponsored the clubs established in the late 19th century has exclusive rights to write about the matches. In the 20th century though, football hooliganism became demonised. Television is sometimes blamed for being partially responsible for the rise of violence for TV presents the violence. The truth is that media in general like sensations, which violence is.
Especially tabloid press like hooliganism. After the Hillsborough disaster, tabloid press like Sun and Mirror brought news that blamed fan even though the whole situation was fault of the management and police who didn’t handle it. Tabloid press often exaggerates the measure of football violence in order to sell more papers. They also bring up news which are not true. Fairly enough, if people didn’t like sensations and scandals press wouldn’t write about it. As long as people like this kind of news and buy tabloids, the editors will have the intentions to scandalise everything they can. And Football violence is an easy target. It seems sometimes that tabloid press support and encourages hooliganism. They often fool and fear readers. For example, they predict violence and riots without any evidence. This kind of news only fear people and create prejudices. It also makes the work of police harder.
It is usual that the tabloid press coverage of international football matches are very xenophobic and jingoistic. They exaggerate differences between nations in order to encourage English fans. They uses many stereotypes and prejudices. The language is often very aggressive and offensive. The reporters are making fun of other nations and square up with them. It is a case of matches England v. Germany. In the coverage is often an analogy with the war. Even after more that 50 years there is still big hatred against Germany. Could it be also caused by the fact that German team is maybe better? Falkland war analogy could be found in coverage of match against Argentina. This approach is absolutely non-professional. Politics shouldn’t be mixed with sports.
Hooliganism is an interesting topic for other media than tabloids, too. In recent years, several documentaries were made about hooliganism as it is kind of a phenomenon. It is example BBC’s reporter Donald McIntyre documentary about Chelsea hooligans made by hidden camera, BBC’s Hooligans, Channel 4’s Football’s Fight Club or Foreign Fields. Football hooliganism is not only an English problem, but English hooligans are very famous in the world, mainly because of media. This situation also creates stereotypes about whole England.

Not all of the football fans are hooligans, but only hooligans are the ones who are seen and watched. But if it wasn’t for football people who want to fight will find something else, another reason to gather and create violence, be like a sheep in a flock and hide in a crowd.


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