Violence and insults: the dark side of the return to the stadiums



“Without an audience there were no insults or violence, now we see again the negative part of the supposed normality. Many people have not learned and return to the old behaviors. It would be necessary to reflect if this return to the fields should be to enjoy more or to return to bad old ways “, he reflects José Carlos Jaenes. Doctor in psychology and university professor, he has been at the Andalusian Center for Sports Medicine for 16 years and chaired the 2017 World Congress of Sports Psychologists. He directed an Erasmus + Sports funded by the EU and with the collaboration of Sporting Lisbon, Chelsea and Seville for promote respect, equality, non-discrimination and the fight against racism, inequality and bad practices in grassroots sport. “In psychology it is easier to install good behaviors than to modify old ones. And there are people who have little repair. The stadiums are an echo for good gestures, such as that of Luis Suarez asking for forgiveness and sending a message of respect to his old hobby, but also for negative attitudes, such as parents who insult the rival or the referee in the fields “.

Sparta Prague was going to play their match against Glasgow Rangers on target due to the racist insults of their stands against Tchouameni, from Monaco, but UEFA allowed more than 10,000 children ages 6 to 14, accompanied by adults, they attended the clash against the Scots. The result was a children’s chorus of boos every time Kamara, Rangers midfielder, touched the ball. Last weekend Koulibaly, Senegalese defender of Naples, denounced that a fan called him “shit monkey” at the end of the match in Florence. His companions Anguissa and Osimhen they also received racist harassment.

“These incidents are an insult to football and sports,” the French Sports Minister declared after the field invasion by Nice fans to attack the Olympique de Marseille players. It was the third incident starring French ultras, after Lens’s team also jumped onto the pitch at halftime in the northern derby against Lille and Montpellier-Marseille had to stop due to the launch of projectiles on the pitch.

In England there have also been pitched battles between ‘hooligans’, the most notorious those recorded between fans of Burnley and Arsenal and before Manchester United-Leeds. Almost four decades after Bill bufford infiltrated among the ‘hooligans’ of Chelsea to write ‘Among the vandals’, the ultra fever continues without disappearing from English soil.

In the last month there have been not only fights between rival fans but also from the same team. In Argentina last week a brawl between Independiente fans ended in gunfire. He remembered, bullets aside, what happened at Betis. Green-and-white ‘hooligans’ were thrown tables, chairs and bottles next to the stadium before the game against Getafe. And objects were thrown again before the clash against Espanyol to elucidate who was holding the microphone in the animation stands.

Betis statement

The Andalusian club had to issue a statement explaining that it had been denounced in each of the matches played at Benito Villamarín for songs “liable to be sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of current regulations on the fight against violence, racism , xenophobia and intolerance in sport “. Betis expressed their rejection of these behaviors and warned that they will withdraw the season tickets to fans who repeat uncivil behavior.

There were also incidents in the meeting between Xerez and the Sevilla subsidiary. After the police removed a banner and expelled the leader of the Sevilla radicals, the 150 ultras caused destruction in the surroundings of the stadium.

“Social tension”

“The antisocial elements take advantage of large concentrations, be they football or large bottles, for criminal acts,” explains psychologist Jaenes. “We have investigated it and the covid has caused uncertainty, loss of freedom and repression that is now showing its face.” A diagnosis shared by David Moscoso, Professor of Sociology at the University of Córdoba

“Sport is not a watertight compartment, isolated from society. Social tension is there and is also expressed in stadiums”, reflects the editor of the scientific journal Sports Sociology. “What is expressed in the sports field is what takes place in society. News of violence is given in bottles and in massive gatherings of people and also in the sports field we are seeing the anger and frustration that some social groups have accumulated , especially as a result of this break in life that has been the covid: the seclusion, uncertainty, restlessness and absolute emptiness have generated a need to let go that has a valve of expression in sports “.

Moscoso It also points out that the capacity limitations in the stadiums and the fact that many people prefer not to go for economic reasons or because of fear of the virus have caused that in the stadiums there is less presence of “more peaceful profiles” and that “the fans go the most. motivated, like the ultras groups “. Taking the example of what happened in Argentina, he believes that it is important that the clubs stand firm against the ‘hooligans’ to curb the vandals.

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