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Death of italian soccer
February 4, 2007 11:26 AM   Subscribe

After the death of the policeman Filippo Raciti during the fights happened during and after the soccer match between Catania and Palermo, Italy is trying to decide what to do against violent ultras.
The Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies had a big impact on the english soccer. Is Italy going to start an effective crackdown against football violence?
posted by darkripper (22 comments total)

 
Even though a vast majority of football matches in England these days go off without a hitch, to this day, the minute an English fan does something stupid, it's worldwide news in an instant.

But the entire Italian league gets cancelled indefinitely because of a long pattern of aggression, deaths and other ridiculous behavior, and for some reason people still seem to think English fans are the poster children for bad behavior at sporting events.

I hope the Italian authorities get their act together soon and clean this mess up.
posted by pdb at 11:50 AM on February 4, 2007


This reminds me of the (very difficult to Google) blues and greens groups of sports fans in the byzantine empire who (supposedly) became rivals in politics and so on until one emperor just had them all killed (according to something I read a while ago). Now, actually trying to look them up the truth seems a bit more complex.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on February 4, 2007


Italy is trying to decide what to do against violent ultras.

Ban football?

Not that it'll stop people from playing stupid chimpanzee politics, but it sounds like a nice start anyway.
posted by loquacious at 12:14 PM on February 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Even though a vast majority of football matches in England these days go off without a hitch, to this day, the minute an English fan does something stupid, it's worldwide news in an instant.

Lets see...they didn't sell tickets to away Cardiff fans at a recent Wolves match. When my wife and I got off the train in Cardiff this summer there were about 15 police at the train station screening football fans. There were running fights outside of Birmingham City games this summer.

UK Football violence is so routine that it has now gotten to the point where police and the FA manage it well because they have had lots of practice.
posted by srboisvert at 12:25 PM on February 4, 2007


Nah it will only get a brief suspension, too many TV rights, too many interests would be affected.

It also would signal that cops are powerless and that some hooligan can stop the show by simply harming or killing a cop or two, like terrorist who easily pushed western countries into renouncing liberty, giving up freedom for a false sense of security and wasting money on delusion of grandeur.

Apparently the cop wasn't killed by the firework-bomb, but by some other object who managed to seriously compromise his liver, so the autopsy established. Therefore it is possible that, even if no less despicable an event, the explosion didn't kill him. Some rumors has it the hooligans were used as a plausible cover up for a revenge.

Imho cops should not be used to watch over these event, as they are paid by community while the profit of the event go primarily to a few pockets and generating only an handful of jobs.

Let the private companies pay for private cops,which should act under the same rules of normal cops (no beating, no killing, sorry fascists) let them repress and dissolve the hooligan groups.
posted by elpapacito at 12:48 PM on February 4, 2007


Ops and I forgot : no private area = no law zone ...I only can imagine lobby for laws allowing private cops to tazer, shoot, harm people for just being on a private property. Let that shitty lawmaking remain in backward countries.
posted by elpapacito at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2007


This particular game was like a cosmic convergence -- the sixth ever Sicilian derby in the history of the Serie A, one that had been rescheduled already due to anticipated violence (it was originally meant to be held today, which happens to be a big festival day in Sicily, and the police wanted to be able to concentrate all their efforts for match security, so they moved the match forward a couple days). That said, the violence is deplorable.

The game itself was a sideshow; it had to be stopped for a while in the middle. There was smoke and teargas in the air. You could see the players and officials dousing their eyes with water. When the air cleared, they finished the match, which was decided by a goal put in by a player's elbow.

This wasn't as much a run-of-the mill soccer riot as it was a perfect storm; poor planning and terrible coincidence led to the death of a police officer and yet another round of world handwringing. But blaming the problem on general conditions in Serie A or soccer in general is shortsighted and incomplete.

Sure, some thugs go to matches to start shit up. Security usually has a pretty good handle on it, and police forces all over Europe have learned to deal with the problems they cause fairly well. In this case, preparation and circumstance collided horribly. It's a terrible shame.
posted by breezeway at 1:04 PM on February 4, 2007


Darktripper - Please explain what the fuck Hillsborough had to do with football violence, or are you a Sun reader?
posted by Sk4n at 1:12 PM on February 4, 2007


I'm gonna cross post basically what I said at Sportsfilter:
-------------------
I can't say that I've personally seen an increase in hostile atmosphere as Fence says, but I haven't been going to the stadium as often as I used to, mainly due to increased ticket prices, the fact that I couldn't drag my Romanista S.O. to a non-derby Lazio game even under penalty of death, and my beloved Juve currently residing in B.

However, I have to wonder just how stupid whoever drew up the year's schedule really is. Apparently, they realised at the last minute that they had scheduled the Catania-Palermo derby (always a hotly contested game) on a Saturday night of a major Sicilian holiday weekend. Fucking brilliant, boys.

And thus the game was moved to Friday night for 'security reasons', which in my opinion was a pretty useless move. It's a Friday night, eve of a major regional holiday. A large majority probably probably did the whole fare il ponte, meaning they took off Friday to extend their holiday weekend to four days instead of three. Yeah, moving it to Friday did a whole lotta good fellas.

On top of this, your police escorted bus of Palermo fans (away team) arrives to the game late because of a 'driver error'. This means they and their police escort are sitting ducks for the idiot 'Ultras' who hang out around the outside of the stadium and whose main interest is looking to start a fight.

If they were really serious about taking extra security measures, they should have moved the game to a neutral (read: outside Sicily) stadium.

Usually they do this as a penalty for prior incidents, but with all the hype I saw on the news about moving the game to Friday in the interests of public order, I have to conclude that they didn't do this because both sets of fans would have thrown a hissy fit. And maybe due to tickets having been sold already; right now I can't find a good article on exactly when they decided to move the game.

Hopefully, when deciding on new measures they'll include a pinch more common sense to avoid giving these types of idiots another excuse to go hog wild.

-------------------
Now they are considering closing the stadiums that don't conform to the Pisanu law. As I understand, some of this has to do with distance between the pitch & seating, as well as limiting access to immediate stadium grounds to ticket holders only.

I have not yet looked up the exact details of the Pisanu law, but I know that Rome's Stadio Olimpico quote Conforms unquote. In truth, the barriers limiting access to non ticket holders are a bloody accident waiting to happen. Slapped up and poorly thought out, they are metal barriers of four or five gates of a width that allows one person at a time to pass through. Should a stampede occur, there are no secondary wider gates that would allow a greater flow of traffic: I fear any resulting crush could/would rival Hillsborough & Heysel. As a 5'1" female, I shiver every time I pass through those yellow metal monstrosities.

They are also talking about passing the stadiums from city control to club control. This too, is a lark: just as some cities are poorer than others, some clubs are poorer than others and there's usually a corrispondance between the two.

I don't pretend to have the answers, but thus far (and IMO only), they are tossing about half baked ideas. I fear that, per the norm, they'll rush to implement some of these half baked ideas just to show the populace "Hey look, we're doing something." And should this occur, it will only harm the sport and its fans, for the idiocy of a few.
posted by romakimmy at 1:15 PM on February 4, 2007


Bit hasty with my cutting & pasting: The first paragraph refers to Fence's comment on the SpoFi thread.
posted by romakimmy at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2007


elpapacito writes:
Imho cops should not be used to watch over these event, as they are paid by community while the profit of the event go primarily to a few pockets and generating only an handful of jobs.

Let the private companies pay for private cops,which should act under the same rules of normal cops (no beating, no killing, sorry fascists) let them repress and dissolve the hooligan groups.

In the UK the clubs have to pay for the police working and around the grounds during the match.

Also, Hillsborough did indeed fundamentally change the game in the UK. However, it had fuck all to do with football hooligans and everything to do with police and stewarding incompetence. I dont know how much you know about Hillsborough. If you said something like that in Liverpool you would be lucky to last about five minutes.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:14 PM on February 4, 2007


that should be working IN and around the grounds obviously.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:15 PM on February 4, 2007


I dont know how much you know about Hillsborough.
Not a bit, so I went to wikipedia. That is horrible to say the least

If you said something like that in Liverpool you would be lucky to last about five minutes
Which should suggest me lots about the average tolerance of the average Liverpool citizen ?

Yet I can see how anger and resentment could boil for years after this apparent show of utter incompetence and possibly strong prejudice.

Possibily an clash of ideologies

1. fans having resentment against cops seen as bullies, violent and incompetent, and some among them fomenting hate against other fans and cops

2. cops having resentment against fans, seen as decrebrates incapable of self policing themselves , assuming an invasion is caused by will to do bad, overlooking the overcrowindg as "usual" for these human disgraces.

that is not going to produce a good outcome.

On top of this The Sun smear campaign , suggesting that the whole lot caused the incident or somehow deserved it. Well The Sun, Foxnews, Murdock and shit have nothing in common : shit has some good use.

Interstingly the same allegations are being made here against some TV using diatribe, allegations of wrongdoing and the whole "they are against our club ! " victim mentality that appears to make much audience, but also reinforce ia us vs them mentality and idiotic diatribes among the listeners.

In the UK the clubs have to pay for the police working and around the grounds during the match

That is good and reasonable as it makes violence an economic problem for the club, therefore a relevant problem.

But it is also quite easy to just pass down the problem to the fans by making them simply pay a little more, as the fixed cost are, I believe, distributed among million of sky subscribers and not only on the 10-20k at a stadium.

So there is no incentive to actually attack the core(s) of the problem

1. presence of extremism in a sport based on group vs group competition
2. influence of these people not only inside the stadium, but expecially outside
3. extremization of fan mentality for business purpose : a fan is potentially an excellent return customer

You see, it is just too convenient to just attack the cop accusing them of incompetence and to attack the public accusing them of being all potential hooligans. It doesn't solve anything, but it keeps the status quo going on, which is good for business.
posted by elpapacito at 5:14 PM on February 4, 2007


Sicilians have proven again their home is not civilized enough to be a Serie A (or B) venue.

The Sicilian sides should have their own league- like the SPL in the UK (just as an example- I realize it's Scotland).

Most Italians (in the north, especially) don't consider Sicilians Italian anyway.

I know that's harsh, but let's be realistic about this.
posted by wfc123 at 7:07 PM on February 4, 2007


Italian football has a lot more problems than this riot.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:11 PM on February 4, 2007


Hillsborough had nothing to do with hooliganism directly, being down to too many people being let into the stadium pens at once. However, the huge fences around the terraces were standard in most stadiums, mainly as a result of hooligan pitch invasions and object throwing.

Without the fences, or even if there'd been emergency exits, many of the crushing deaths could have been prevented - though police incompetence was the direct cause, certainly. Hillsborough pretty much single handedly caused the switch to all-seater stadiums, and removing the fences - and that meant policing tactics against hooliganism had to change also. Hillsborough wasn't caused by hooliganism, but without hooliganism in the past the disaster might have been avoided or at least lessened.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:13 AM on February 5, 2007


srboisvert - Out of interest, which Birmingham City games have had 'running fights' outside? As a season ticket holder, I go to most home games and certainly haven't seen anything I'd describe like that recently.
posted by MrMustard at 2:36 AM on February 5, 2007


Maybe I am wrong about which team but there was definitely helicopter footage of a large fight outside near some fencing before a match in Birmingham. I was fairly sure it was City.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 AM on February 5, 2007


Maybe it was this - which was actually in Stoke..
posted by srboisvert at 3:05 AM on February 5, 2007


I'm not saying it didn't happen, it more than likely did, and Birmingham fans do have a bit of a reputation for those kind of shenanigans. Stuff like that just isn't really news in the UK anymore. I've seen it creeping back in over the last couple of seasons, and it's not pleasant but basically, as long as nothing goes off inside the ground, the clubs don't really care.
posted by MrMustard at 3:07 AM on February 5, 2007


On just to late for Preview - Ahh, Stoke. I wasn't at that game fortunately. Been to Stoke a few times in the past though. There's a bit of history between Birmingham and Stoke, so those occasions are always a little tense.
posted by MrMustard at 3:19 AM on February 5, 2007


The last time I saw any rough stuff at all was at Barnet v Exeter about four seasons ago, and that was just a dozen lads chucking stuff at each other in the park. A someone who's been a regular spectator since going to Luton Town in the 80s (shudder) I can't say violence has been a problem for me in the last decade or more.
posted by athenian at 9:42 AM on February 5, 2007


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