Hooligan Phenomenon in European Soccer

English soccer has been characterized by soccer hooliganism over the past decades where fanatics caused trouble at football matches

It is not unheard-of that spectators turn violent at times and portray disorderly behavior during sporting events. Soccer events have had a share of such vicious actions and many countries have faced these problems in the past.

Violent, and destructive behavior by overzealous supporters of football clubsFootball hooliganism origins & history

Violent acts by soccer supporters have been observed over time. Beliefs and interests of the competing sides are regarded to be the major cause of these occurrences. Hooliganism in the sport has been experienced since the soccer was developed, but it sprung to be a major concern to the public in the 1960s.

Neighboring teams feigned rivalry over territorial factors among other local factors. Teams would seek to claim superiority in their territories which spread to violence during derby matches. A number of disorderly behaviors in soccer were noted in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Other European countries also faced the same issue.

Hooliganism mainly crept into English soccer in the 1980s. During this period, the wrangles were confined to within the stadiums with few occurrences reported outside the grounds. However, this has not been the case since the 1990s as the aggression has been planned outside the stadiums.

In the 19th century, groups of violent supporters would recurrently attack the supporters of the opposing team, even the players and the referees. Currently, soccer has improved in reputation, gaining more respect and prominence, but racial tensions and varying youth cultures remain a major impediment in curbing hooliganism.

39 fans were killed in a stampede before the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus at the Heysel Stadium in May 1985.The history of hooliganism in English football does not fail to point out the Heysel disaster of 1985. The unpleasant incident led to a wall collapsing after Liverpool supporters attacked Juventus fans causing deaths of 39 people. This led to a major ban for the English teams followed by efforts by various responsible bodies to have such situations under control.

The reduction in hooliganism in soccer can be attributed largely to the various acts that have been put in place. The police and governments lead in bringing normalcy to the sport. Notable laws against hooliganism are constituted in the Public Order Act 1986, the Football Spectators Act 1989, the Football Offences Act 1991 and the Football Disorder Act 2000.

CSKA football club supporters during a matchBulgaria Hooligans

The major rivalry in Bulgaria is seen on the Eternal Derby, which is a game between CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia. The rivalry dates back to the 1940s after CSKA was formed and emerged winners in the first season. Their feuds reached the peak in June 1985 when they fought during the Bulgarian Cup final.

Other rivalries are related to the Plovdiv Derby (Botev versus Lokomotiv Plovdiv) as well as groups linked to Minyor Pernik, Beroe Stara Zagora and Slavia Sofia among others. The different rival groups have attracted lots of criticism and outrage from the public. Their acts have triggered talks aimed at imposing greater punishments for hooligans as fines and a few hours in custody seem not to deter them from causing havoc.

English hooligans marched to the soccer field during a football match, riot police were deployed to stop themEngland Hooligans

England is known for its large fan base across the world, both for the national team and the prominent tournaments it hosts. Nonetheless, it is known for the numerable incidents that have resulted in violence in the past decades. England suffered from vicious acts by fans mainly in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rival sets of club supporters have been involved in battles, in the current form of prearranged battles. Local derbies still depict some level of bitter rivalry that at times turns chaotic. However, the efforts by the police and adoption of intelligence operations have helped curb the behavior. Generally, most grounds are considered safe though trouble still occurs away from the grounds just like in other regions.

In Greece, a riot erupted during a football match. Greece tops the rank among violent behaviors of soccer fans.Football hooligans from other countries

Hooliganism in soccer events is an international problem. Hooligan phenomenon in European soccer is considered by some as a thing of the past. However, recent incidences from countries like Sweden and Russia are a vivid depiction that hooliganism has not been eradicated. In addition, it is very alarming that the cruel trait is on the rise in Russia.

The Ultras of Italy have not let go the violent act. Greece tops the ranks when it comes to attacks, stabbings and invasions related to soccer. On the other hand, Turkey, Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal, France and Germany are no strangers to soccer violence. There are regulations against hooliganism across the continent but such incidences keep occurring though on a lower level compared to the past two to three decades.