“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting. Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”

–Igor Lebedev, a member of the Russian Football Union [RFU] executive committee and MP of the Liberal Democratic party – June 2016..

 

Usually, such images – showing rioting and destruction of public property – are associated with political clashes and religious strife; and have been extensively used to depict the agitation in the Middle East. However this image shows clashes between the supporters of different football clubs with each other and the police in Europe. Usually peaceful countries such as England, Poland and France have had a long history of violence related to football hooliganism and the related gang culture. While drunken clashes have constituted the majority of the instances, incidents such as the 1967 Kayseri Atatürk Stadium Disaster in turkey led to 40 deaths and left 600 injured.

Over time, European countries have instituted tough sanctions for hooliganism and today spend large amounts on specialised riot prevention squads and a small army of stewards in most profession games. However as the scenes of the violence between English and Russian fans show, the menace of the wanton violence associated with football has still not disappeared. And as evidenced by the words of the Russian Football Union Executive; neither has the mindset.