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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 07:05 GMT 08:05 UK

Can football violence be stopped?

Authorities in Moscow halt public screenings of World Cup games, after two die in riots following Russia's defeat by Japan.

What can be done to curb football violence?


Thousands of football fans went on the rampage in the centre of Moscow on Sunday, leaving two dead and many others injured.

A number of vehicles were set alight near the lower house of parliament, where windows were broken, and about 50 people were hospitalised, including 20 police officers.

World Cup co-hosts Japan and S. Korea have made stringent attempts to prevent any crowd trouble and to date he tournament has been relatively trouble free.

Should public screenings pay the price for better crowd control?

Have your say


Of course it can be stopped. People should realise that football is just a game and not a war between nations or cities.
Marianne, Holland

" Millions of Korean fans cheered in streets without an incident "
HL, Chinese in NYC

Civilised people must not give up in the fight to eradicate hooligans, but the road ahead is long.
Rob Chadwick, USA

There has been no violence at this tournament not due to a crackdown, improved behaviour by fans or better policing, but due to the sheer distance and cost involved in travelling to the games. Beware, it will rear its ugly head again in two and four years time.
Steve, England

There is no connection between passion for football and violence. Millions of Korean fans cheered in streets without an incident. Alcohol and public attitude to tolerate violence are the reasons for riots in European countries.
HL, Chinese in NYC

Football violence has been a part of football since its inception as a sport. The game itself was violent and after it was sanitised due to its movement into organised matches and a league, the crowd was always aggressive.

" If we didn't take football so seriously there wouldn't be so much violence "
Paul Baker, England

It is an outlet for pent up aggression that may not just be because of the game itself. There are much wider issues associated with it, often economic. The only way to stop it would be to stop large groups gathering together. If you got rid of football the violence would just move elsewhere.
Chaz Spring, England

Hooliganism is only committed by a small number of extremists. If we can contain these extremists then the problem will disappear. Often trivial events are blown out of all proportion by the media which makes things seem much worse than they really are. I expect this World Cup to be the least violent in recent years.
Jimbo, UK

I don't believe that it's possible to prevent the violence but maybe it is possible to control it. Unfortunately the majority of today's society turn into a bunch of raving animals if they've had a drink and their favourite football team has lost. When the violence and over-enthusiasm goes as far as it did in Russia it stops being patriotism and is just moronic behaviour.
James Murphy, England

Football is all about passion and when passions are running high there is no stopping you.
Colin Watt, Scotland

" Taking the TV screens away isn't the answer "
Sam Earl, England

If people are that crazy after a result of a game they are going to be violent whether they watch the match on a big screen or not!
Nadine, Wales

Taking the TV screens away isn't the answer. Fifa need to seriously think about violence before young children get killed.
Sam Earl, England

I really don't think football violence can be stopped, because if there were a lot of policemen on the streets they always work like a red scarf to a bull.

I'm a Ajax fan in Holland and at matches that the police see as an dangerous game they always put a lot of police men on duty, and they always threat us like animals and we don't like that. So we start to sing and shout at the police and they came at us and start to hit us and so on.

But the riots in Moscow, I've never seen before in Holland, this is very serious, for the whole football nation worldwide. Greetz Rick (FC Ajax, Amsterdam, England supporter).
Rick T, The Netherlands

If we didn't take football so seriously there wouldn't be so much violence. In a sense it replaces war as a means to test yourself against another nation. I'll take hooliganism over war any day.

" It is going to be extremely hard to separate this evil from the beautiful game "
Macca , England

I imagine the violence in Moscow, which is new as they trashed their own city, attacking their own supporters, is a product of a general depression within Russian society. More a factor of economic strain than football results.
Paul Baker, England

I don't believe this incident was a reaction against a football result, rather a reaction against the social climate within Russia.
Aaron Hartley, England

Controlling the sale/use of alcohol in public places may be the answer!
Suzanne Salami, England

Unfortunately I think this kind of behaviour is so deeply instilled into our culture, that there is little we can do to completely contain it.

I am in Yorkshire at the moment, and even after we beat Argentina, the songs and chants spilling out from the pubs weren't of a celebratory tone, but more as if we were just about to go to war! The songs were irrelevant to the opposition we'd just defeated and to football, and I must say some of it was sickeningly racist.

You can't really take jingoism out of people, it's either there or it isn't, so it is going to be extremely hard to separate this evil from the beautiful game.
Macca , England

" I think it's an insult to the millions of people who supported the Russian team in Russia "
Larisa Chernysheva, Canada

Japan and Korea have a great system for crowd control maybe some of the other countries should adopt it!!
Stephanie, Barbados

The one thing which seems to have curbed England's hooliganism problem more than anything else is superior policing - ever since customs have been able to turn someone around at Heathrow, foreign football violence connected to our fans has been in decline.

The policing in South Korea and Japan has been conspicuous by it's enormity (I wonder how many rings of hooligans have cancelled far eastern holidays this summer after seeing riot police wielding assault rifles in preparation for the World Cup) while Moscow's security was conspicuous by it's absence - I'm sure images of honest fans arresting their hooligan countrymen in the absence of proper security will have struck chords with a few people.

Organised or not, hooliganism has always been a problem in world football and taking down a few large screens will only move the problem - Russia, take note from Britain, Japan and South Korea; if you want to crack down on football violence, police your fans, it is the ONLY proven way ...
Ollie, England

I think it's an insult to the millions of people who supported the Russian team in Russia. It seems that local authorities were not prepared for such events, some of the rioters appeared to be skinheads, who were chanting ''Victory to skinheads'' slogans associated with Russian neo-Nazis plus high alcohol consumption could be an issue as well.
Larisa Chernysheva, Canada

I think the yobs involved are just using football as an excuse. Unfortunately, there will always be a small minority of mindless morons who think it is clever to beat up other people and destroy other people's property. Would public flogging would be a deterrent?
Patrick, England

" The football arena is just a place where natural tribal energies and pride are exerted "
Rosie, England

You will only be able to tackle football riots when the world stops looking at England as the main culprit. Germany, Holland, Italy, Argentina, etc, also have problems with crowd control.
Leroy Fogg, England

I watched the BBC's documentary about football violence a few weeks ago and I came to this conclusion.

1. Nowhere did I see rioting Women.
2. The people who are involved in football violence have absolutely nothing to do with football. The football arena is just a place where natural tribal energies and pride are exerted. This is also known as people with too much testosterone and nothing better to do.
Rosie, England

As far as I am concerned there will always be football violence however much we try to stop it. I was in Exchange Square in Manchester on Friday and I have to say the atmosphere was 10 times better than many football grounds on a Saturday. Then again you don't beat Argentina every day!
Paul White, England

How many times have you watched a match in the pub near some Neanderthals who are obviously a) drunk and b) 'up for it'? If their team wins, they're everybody is mates (whether you like it or not) and if they lose, they want to punch someone. People with such emotionally stunted value systems have always been around and probably always will.

" Society has unfortunately elevated footballers into symbolic warriors "
Helen, ex-England

If reforming such people is unlikely, all you might do is sever their contact with football. But perhaps, in the long run, it is better that they are attracted to football. At least at football their movements are reasonably 'above ground' and predictable. If you somehow turned them away from football, they would be drawn to other forms of macho tribal behaviour (e.g. street gangs, or extreme politics) which are potentially much more dangerous.

At football matches they can be marshalled. So the best hope for stopping hooliganism is good policing. The Moscow police apparently took ONE HOUR to co-ordinate a response to yesterday's disturbances! With such pathetic preparation, the blame should not rest on football, or even the hooligans (who are more or less an inevitable part of human society) but on the police for being so slack. An hour? They should have been on the scene in less than five minutes.
Col, Poland

Society has unfortunately elevated footballers into symbolic warriors, fighting on a battleground for the sake of misplaced national pride.

You have to look to psychology as to why people give up their individual status to become part of a riotous mob. Losing a football match is not a reason to riot - or to kill - but rather it is a feeble excuse.
Helen, ex-England

Send them over to meet the Tartan Army and they will show them how to enjoy a game even when they lose. They could teach them a thing or two about how to party!
Margaret, Scotland

I don't think removing outdoor TV screens is the answer. In a country like Russia I think people need to look at the political climate and ask themselves if the rioting was really related to the action on the pitch!
Emma Davenport, UK


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