The State of Soccer Fan Violence in Canada
Once upon a time, there was a teenage boy named Bob, and Bob asked his mom if they could go to a soccer game in honour of his birthday next week.
Feeling a little concerned Bob’s mother responded, "You know honey that sounds great but I think we should do something a little less violent. I heard there is supposed to be a wrestling match this Saturday! How about we do that instead?
I know what you guys are thinking...
“What! Isn't soccer just a bunch of players running around a field trying to get a ball to go in the net? How is that more violent than people literally fighting one another in front of a crowd?
Yes, you technically are correct.
Soccer players truly aren't in much danger.
Not including the occasional wipe-out, but hey it happens to the best of us right?
Here is what you didn't consider.
We are not talking about the soccer players being violent... we are talking about the fans!
Or shall we say, hooligans!
Wait, What is a Hooligan?
Be honest with yourself, when you hear the word hooligan what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
When I think of hooligans I picture a bunch of kids running around doing silly pranks.
But it turns out there is another meaning of the word.
According to the Oxford Dictionary here is the definition of a football hooligan.
"A violent troublemaker whose behaviour is associated with or motivated by their support of a soccer team." - Source
What can we say? People have emotions. And when sports they are passionate about aren't exactly going their way...
Well, their anger and frustration can get out of hand and resort to getting violent with other fans.
How To Watch Games Safety
If you were watching a game at home it is fair to say the most dangerous thing that can happen to you would be getting a popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth.
While extremely unpleasant and not so hot for you guys out there with braces, it certainly is nothing compared to getting stuck in a violent episode at a sports event.
Unless of course, you don't have any dental floss on hand. Then you have a problem, my friend.
You Canadian readers may be gasping right now and thinking
"I hope these hooligans at least politely asked permission before starting these fights."
While we can neither confirm nor deny the politeness factor.
Our guess is that all manners are thrown at the window before even arriving at the field.
So I guess that means they were thrown out the window on the car ride over.
One of the big questions is do these hooligans think they are in fact doing anything wrong?
Get Ready For a Quote Within a Quote
" 'That’s how they show support,' said Alejandra Huerta, of Salinas. 'That’s the way they celebrate — by breaking things.' " - Source
Recently at a game at the Avaya Stadium, the fans threw rocks and bottles at one another.
You can read the full story here after you are done this read of course!
I think we can all agree that throwing sharp objects at other people doesn't fall into the good deed category.
But here is where it gets interesting…
Warning – If you are holding a Tim Horton’s hot coffee you may want to place it down so you don’t spill it on yourself.
This violence took off before the game even started!
A fan getting violent because their favourite team isn’t doing so hot is one thing.
But violence going on before a game even starts is a whole other story.
Fans really didn't have any rational reason to be upset besides being frustrated with the opposing team's fans.
Okay, here is a little mid article game for you.
Become super old school and pull out a pen and paper.
Go somewhere you won’t be overly distracted and can really think.
Put your texting and social media game on hold just for a few minutes. We know social media withdrawal is real but we have faith in you.
If you made it your mission to calm down the violence in sports and/or bring more awareness to this issue how would you go about it?
Pause and take a few minutes to think.
Those are all great ways to get started, but a recent article from CBC proves otherwise...
"A Russian lawmaker has proposed an unorthodox solution to the country's problems with football hooliganism ahead of next year's World Cup — legalize it and turn it into a spectator sport." - Source
So apparently the solution to controlling fan violence at soccer games is to create a new sport that is based on violence.
Can you imagine watching TV with your friends and thinking 'hmmm what shall we watch on TV tonight, Hockey, Wrestling, Baseball, or Football Hooliganism?"
Maybe it will even get their own Netflix series!
I guess only time will tell.
Don't Be Afraid
If you are a concerned parent and feel uncomfortable with your children going to games and getting in trouble, don’t worry because the police do get involved when necessary.
"The football-related arrest rate in the 2014 to 2015 season was 4.9 arrests per 100,000 attendees. “ – Source
"Since 4 September 2014, 484 new football banning orders have been issued; a decrease of 29% (-194) when compared with the previous year." - Source
It's unfortunate that we are experiencing such dramatic violence at events that used to be seen as safe, fun family friendly activities.
But as the world evolves so does society.
Remember, as long as we are educated, prepared and use our voice to spread awareness hopefully we can prevent injuries and incidents from happening in the future.
And if that doesn’t work I guess we will have to start watching the news on Sunday nights instead.