Euro Hools ⋆ An Old International

Euro Hools

The new season in the Europa League and Champions League is just a few days old and the centre stage besides the football was taken by violence. How has it come to this?

A new wave of violence related to football fans rolled across Europe during the first encounters of this season’s Europa League competition. Fights fared up across Europe – among them usual suspects such as West Ham, Napoli and Frankfurt but also Vienna were among those involved. Where does this come from? To be clear: hooliganism has been part and parcel of modern football since the late 19th century and took centre stage during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then the commodification of the game has pushed hooligans out of the grounds, into the streets but also onto barren land, far away from the limelight.

Yet, here it is and it is not a single occurrence, it appears as if all those firms have just waited for that first day match of this season’s European cup competitions to commence to kick off a bout of violence. The video clips speak for themselves.

The question remains: why now and why so wide spread? It has to do with to a certain degree with Corona and the subsequent lockout of fans and supporters from football matches. This was of course an act of pure egotism from the football bubble to continue but exclude the supporters. The result is a lot of pent up frustration and anger but also a demonstration that the fans or at least certain groups of fans are still there and ready to fight.

This will not be a singular occurrence – it will be there for the rest of the season. The reaction of the football establishment, the media and the public will be interesting. Violence in public spaces is abhorrent and those responsible should held accountable. Will the media show they have learnt their lessons from the 1980s and provide little to no platform to hooligans?

Far more interesting and revealing is the violence that occurred in mid to late September in France, most notably in matches with Marseille involved. Interestingly, one of those was Marseille versus Angers. The latter are a small club yet there were incidents of violence. During the northern derby between Lens and Lille, the home supporters invaded the pitch. Yes, it was the derby but given the relative ease with which those matches have been played out over the last years, this pitch invasion provides good material for a wider societal debate on this topic but also violence within society.

Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this:

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