The recent reports of violence in football venues is utterly disheartening. Violence broke out at a champion league game pitting AEK and Ajax supporters in Athens. Six Ajax fans have been hospitalized as well as three policemen. The Copa Libertadores final had to be postponed and relocated after violence broke out in Buenos Aires between Boca Juniors and River plate fans.
Violence should never have a place in football. These recent events are raising conversations as to whether passion and violence in football can be separated. The Copa Libertadores final was a high stakes games pitting some bitter rivals against each other. The game against AEK and Ajax was an equally high stakes games, but no one expected tensions would rise that high.
Tension and Violence
Players, fans, and spectators got injured in Buenos Aires, Argentina when confrontations broke out between Boca Juniors and River plate fans last week. The match had to be postponed and relocated. The first leg of the final had been played on Boca’s home ground and it ended in a 2-2 draw.
The second leg was supposed to be played on Saturday in El Monumental, which is River plate’s home ground. Boca players’ bus took a route that led it to a well-known pre-match gathering point for River plate fans. The fans attacked the bus with stones and bottles. Police accompanying the bus tried to intervene with pepper spray but the players were caught up in the fracas as well.
The players petitioned for postponement of the match when they arrived at the stadium. CONMEBOL, the football governing body of South America, would hear none of it. River plate was also open to a postponement. Obviously, there were a lot of stakes in the match. The FIFA president himself was in Buenos Aires to watch the match.
After a couple of delays, fans got restless and those outside the stadium started confronting the police. CONMEBOL was left with no choice but to postpone the match. They had first moved it to Sunday, before postponing the match indefinitely.
The match in Athens had its fair share of drama, though it was played to completion. Fans lit up flares in the stadium and the celebrations were wild. Clashes in the stadium and around the city started when the match began. Police intervened immediately. Some of the injuries reported were from police batons.
In Athens city center, Panathinaikos fans ganged up with the Dutch Ajax fans against AEK fans. Panathinaikos is another Greek team that is a bitter rival to AEK.
Ajax won the match 2-0 and qualified for the round of 16 teams of the Champions League.
The Passion in Football
Passion in football events is nothing new. Football is an exciting game and tensions are bound to be high when the stakes are high. Football fans tend to express passion for their team in different ways. They will sing, dance, chant, and do all manners of celebrations. These shenanigans make the game a lot more exciting for everyone. A line needs to be drawn somewhere if the recent events are anything to go by.
Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBAL said, “What we went through over the weekend isn’t football. It’s a disease that has to be wiped out.” According to Dominguez, passion should not be equated to violence.
His sentiments are right, but how far is violence from passion? When passion and tensions are high between two competing groups, violence is usually not very far. More control measures are what is needed in as much as the “Violence has no place in football” campaign is concerned.
People and players are getting injured in such confrontations and they could easily turn fatal. They should, therefore, be avoided and discouraged at all costs. However, the only thing the organizers, through the media do before a fierce match is inflate passions and tensions. That’s how they can be assured of making lots of money from the games. On the other hand, if they don’t do that, the matches might not be as exciting as they always are.
The Copa Libertadores final has been rescheduled for December 8 or 9, in a ground outside Argentina. That means Boca Juniors’ and River plate’s most fierce fans will not be able to attend. The match will obviously not be as exciting as it would have been in Buenos Aires, though it will probably be devoid mayhem.
Many of the fans have deep emotional ties with the team and its performance. Football fanatism is like religion. When passions flare, they can easily disintegrate in violence.
The violence might turn a lot of people away from football stadiums. The aftermath of the violence also costs the teams and organizers a lot of money. For instance, CONMEBOL and sponsors of the Copa Libertadores final must have suffered a loss as a result of the postponement.
There are fans that had paid for tickets and would probably have to be refunded. Betting companies always have a tough time dealing with such occurrences as well. They have policies that they use to deal with such incidences though. Impressive betting bonuses such as those offered by 1xbetbonus.net might not be offered for teams with cases of violence.
Fan violence can easily destroy a thriving club. There is always a lot at stake when these tournaments and matches are organized. A team whose fans make it rough for everyone will also have things made rough for it be the other stakeholders.
Violence does not, and should not, have a place in football. These recent cases are an indication that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Football is one of the most exciting games on the planet. The excitement is fueled by the highly competitive nature of the game. Football teams have a cultic following around the world.
Passions and tensions will always be present in football games. They are part of what makes a match exciting. Organizers need to find a fuse that will ensure these passions do not turn into violence. Nobody should get injured because they attended a football match.