Battles of Russia and England rage across Lille and Marseille. We feel as if a World War has begun in Europe with France hosting Euro 2016. However, this is not the case. It is not the onset of World War 3. This quadrennial tournament pits top 24 European football countries against each other. The battle is amongst the footballers but some reports suggest that mob violence has also become a main play during such occasions. There had been a clash of Russians and Europeans in Marseille. Over thirty five people were injured and sent to hospital. Russia had been threatened for a ban by UEFA, the primary football organizer of Europe, if such a mal behavior of fans continued. However, Moscow has maintained that it is a conspiracy to let off English hooligans. Well this may just be the case.
UNFORTUNATE FOOTBALL WARS
Football was invented by English people during the Middle Age. It was followed by huge amount of savagery. Keeping this situation in mind, King Edward II temporarily banned this game in 1314. This temporary ban was uplifted after some time. The main advent of football hooliganism was between 1960s and 90s. What was a mere group of players earlier, now had club – specific identities like Red Army for Manchester United, Headhunters for Chelsea, The Herd for Arsenal etc. This cult of hooliganism spread throughout the continents- we can thank live television for this.
In mid 1990s, a group of Oxford researchers wrote a dissertation analysing football hooliganism in Europe. Their findings are edgy and interesting. One of the greatest conclusions was that the roots of this football violence was extremely variable. For instance- Scotland has gripping clan rivalries, Spain has deep rooted political animosity and tension, Ireland is staunchly divided into Protestants and Catholics etc.
The football rivalry in Bengal is regional. Each of both West Bengal and East Bengal (ghotis and bangals respectively) has their own separate club. This was a mild and non threatening affair for many decades. But in 1970s, the Bangladesh war and huge transfer of population from East to West, whetstoned the knife. East Bengal, now injected with new passion and talent, continuously defeated the Bagans. In a matter of six years that is to say, between 1970 and 1976 alone, East Bengal had won the league six times. It had also managed to bag fifteen major trophies. As a result, people were agitated and went berserk. The situation of violence was not only relevant on the pitch but also on the gullies and streets of Calcutta.
The situation was on the vertex on 16th August 1980. On this day, a Bagan vs. Bangladesh match was been played at Eden Gardens. The referee was stupid enough to give some foul and controversial decisions. A major fight then began in the stands. The agitated people threw bricks and stones at each other. When these instruments of violence were exhausted, they went on to break the parts of concrete to use as threatening weapons. On being charged by policemen, the angry mob went berserk and there was a huge stampede. This left sixteen people dead and hundreds seriously injured.
There was a widely circulated news in 1985s which primarily highlighted football hooliganism. You guessed it right. In 1985, Heysel rampage in Brussels took place. Around 39 Juventus were spontaneously crushed to death when Liverpool supporters ran amok. There was yet another tragedy when around hundred fans were killed in Hillsborough. This was a result of rioting during a football bout between Liverpool and Nottingham.
There are many other mob violence incidents which have taken place on the stadium. We people need to understand that games are not organised to spread hooliganism. If you have been lucky enough to have Physical Education as your subject, you must know that these games are organised to foster brotherhood among nations. By defeating their purpose, people are casting a blot on only on themselves but also on their countries.