Hello there, it’s a pleasure to be back with this edition of my column this week, it’s about the ‘Naija Football Hooligan’.
As the title implies, football hooliganism is an unruly, violent, and destructive behaviour by football supporters before, during or after games.
These ugly scenarios come in different manners; but on many occasions, there is usually security over-run; then, as fight begins across the stands and on the field, the players have no choice than to run for their lives.
Given high profile stories of violence committed by soccer fans, often in horrifying ways, it’s no surprise that the spectators often trigger most violence. Interestingly, they focus more on football.
Although, violence in sports, especially football has a strong link to English football since the 13th century, when hundreds of men would compete in pitch battles to settle disputes between rival villages.
The violence has always been football-related dubbed and many call it; ‘football hooliganism’, which gained an expansive ground in England in the 1960s, earning it the moniker of the ‘British disease’.
Since soccer-related violence exists throughout the world long before now, from the 1960s to 80s, the world witnessed a move from spontaneous incidents of soccer-related disorder.
However, the ugly activities of many notorious fans at designated stadiums are yet to abate, rather, their antics are coming in different forms.
Today, in contrast to the more or less spontaneous upsurges of violence of the past, gangs of rival fans/clubs frequently arrange to meet at specific locations, using mobile phones or the internet, before and after matches, either to fight or argue over a perceived injustice of the ruling of the referees.
The stigma of shame then lingers like a dark cloud over the home and away teams. Sometimes, this escalates into religious battle if not curtailed by security agencies.
It scares me how people are that desperate that they take laws into their own hands and risk being branded criminals.
Measures has to be taken and more security must be arranged for the players and spectators.
Right there in Africa, especially in Nigeria, football hooliganism is yet to stop. I think it is high time the league management creates a new security outfit for soccer events where the Police would serve as a backup.
That is job creation for millions of people at this time of recession.
‘Hooligans used to give our national games a bad name in the past but we have set an example for the rest of the world, in the way we manage our football matches.
I am pleased with the way clubs and the Police work together but we must also praise the fans for realising that violence has no place in the modern game.
To change something, one must build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
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