Putting up a fight to the hooligans

THE MYSTIQUE of some sport fans fighting each other is a case that is on the list to be solved tomorrow morning at the Play The Game world sport conference, writes Marc Johnson and Adam Manning.

Police CCTV footage of the violence that erupted in the Earlsdon area of Coventry City in April of this year

Police CCTV footage of the violence that erupted in the Earlsdon area of Coventry City in April of this year

In the domestic game, there is an ongoing issue of why football is one of the only sports that is tarnished by regular clashes in and outside football grounds. Recent figures released by the Home Office for 2007/8 season shows that out of the 37 million people that attended a football match in England or Wales, 3,842 fans were arrested for disorderly conduct  at an average of 1.2 people per game.

Other mainstream sports, such as rugby and cricket have integrated crowds, where crowd trouble is very rare with a family carnival atmosphere.  Police are now having to monitor internet chat rooms to gain clues to organised fights outside football grounds before and after football matches.

Recent measures seen in Rome throughout the Champions League final were another indicator on the precautions necessary to protect sport from hooliganism which follows in its shadow. Vehse lectures on the general history of religion and contemporary pop culture specifically post-game fan violence.

Following a clash between Coventry and Leicester city there was an explosion of mob violence by football hooligans in Earlsdon a sleepy district in Coventry. This resulted in riot officer’s having to diffuse the situation at the City Arms pub in Coventry. Several arrests were made on the scene and many subsequent arrests were made following raids across the Midlands involving 130 officers from around the region.

So tough questions are expected tomorrow as to why there is so much fighting in the English game of football compared to the other domestic sports.  Trying to give explanations will be Lise Joern, a PhD student from Denmark whose presentation will be about Fighting Football Hooligans. American lecturer in Humanities and Religious Studies, Ted Charles Vehse, will be elaborating on Joern’s area of study by exploring direct and indirect factors that cause fan violence in sport as a whole.


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