Hooliganism In Football A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Football hooliganism is something that for many years has been a tarnishing factor for the beautiful game. Sometimes known as the 'English Disease', hooliganism in football has been an evil that has lurked in the shadows, often coming to the fore during certain football events. Fights and brawls between supporters of different teams have ensued over the years and this had become a major problem for soccer governing bodies as it threatened to ruin the game.


Over the years, the football hooligans have emerged in several scenarios including fist fights, disruption of soccer games as well as huge riots where there is often destruction of property and lives. This has made the issue of hooliganism shoot to the top of the agenda of many an association's 'to deal with' list. As a matter of fact, FIFA put in place several initiatives to weed out the act and to ensure that the game is not tarnished with the presence of hooliganism.


Throughout the 1970s and 80s, football hooliganism was a common appearance in British football. Even before this, as early as the 14th Century, Edward II banned football which at the time had no violence whatsoever because he had the fear that this event could possibly create some kind of social disorder. The first recorded instances of football hooliganism appeared around the 1880s in England. During this time, there were several gangs of supporters who were famous for their intimidation of neighbours and also attacking referees, opposing players and supporters.


In 1885 after Aston Villa lost to Preston North End (5-0), there was a melee which ensued with stones pelted, sticks used, punches and kicks uses as well as spitting. It is reported that a Preston North End player even lost consciousness because he had been beaten so severely. The year that followed, the Preston fans were involved in a fight with Queens Park fans and in 1905, a number of the Preston fans were tried in courts of law for hooliganism after their match against Blackburn Rovers.


Today, there is more awareness and over the past few years, concerted efforts have been made to ensure that the demon of football hooliganism does not show up again. Any teams that are involved in hooliganism are often punished in one way or another. Depending on the gravity of the situation, there could be a reduction of points, financial fine, absence of fans from a certain game or any other punishments that the governing bodies deem fit.


This has gone a long way in ensuring that the hooligans keep away from the matches and in case they attend, the local authorities quickly spot them and deal with them accordingly. Today, several international football events carry on without a threat of hooliganism or violence because the soccer governing bodies work hand in hand with other authorities to ensure that there is peace at the games. It therefore seems likely that the idea of hooliganism will soon become a thing of the past and will only be talked about as something that used to happen but no longer happens.


Written by Jason King

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