Football Violence
in Europe

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Executive summary


Football violence in history

Theoretical and research perspectives

Cross-national variations in football violence in Europe

Media coverage of football hooliganism

Racism and football fans

Football violence and alcohol

Tackling football violence

Selected Bibliography

Cross-national variations in football violence in Europe


Despite the extensive research literature on the subject, empirical information on cross-cultural variations in the scale and nature of football-related violence is hard to come by.

In their introduction to Football, violence and social identity (1994), Giuilianotti et al ask: "What commonalities or differences exist between.supporters in different cultural contexts?", immediately followed by: "Are the bases for these overlaps and distinctions found in actual behaviour or secondary interpretation?"  

In accordance with academic etiquette, the contributors to this edited volume of essays do not feel obliged to answer the questions raised in the introduction. Yet the need for the second question indicates that the most striking ‘commonality’ between football supporters of different European nations is the number of social scientists engaged in interpreting, analysing and explaining their behaviour.

These academics are themselves divided into mutually hostile factions supporting rival explanations of the nature and causes of football violence. The divisions are along theoretical, rather than national lines, such that an Italian or Dutch sociologist may be a supporter of, for example, the British ‘Leicester School’ or the French ‘Post-modernist’ approach - resulting in very different interpretations of his own nation’s football culture.

In addition to the inevitable distortions of ‘secondary interpretation’, the ritual chanting and aggressive displays of the rival theoretical schools often obscure our view of the behaviour that is the subject of their debate.

The participants in the debate all accept that cross-national differences in the behaviour of football fans in Europe exist - and the contributors to Giulianotti’s "cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, pluralist" volume reach the unremarkable conclusion that a nation’s football culture is  " … indicative of a given society’s cognition of existential, moral and political fundamentals". Yet none of the many writers on this subject has provided any clear indication of exactly what the differences are.

At the 1987 European Conference on Football Violence, the Dutch researcher Dr J. P Van de Sande commented that in terms of research on hooliganism, "In Holland the situation is very much like that in other countries, many opinions but few facts". Nearly ten years later, we must sadly report that while opinions are still plentiful, facts remain scarce.

As the British element of the so-called ‘British Disease’ is covered in some depth elsewhere in this report (see Section 2) we will focus in this section on the scale and nature of football hooliganism in other European countries.

Levels of violence

The available literature does not include any quantitative comparisons of levels of football-related violence in European countries. This may be because there is very little quantitative data available on the incidence of football-related violence in individual countries.

Even in Britain, where the problems have been recognised and researched for over two decades, systematic recording of incidents has only been undertaken in the last few years. Empirical data on football-related violence in other European countries is sketchy, often out-of-date and difficult to compare as different sources do not define terms such as ‘violent incident’ or ‘serious incident’ in the same way - and in many cases do not define these terms at all. The lack of data, and specifically the lack of directly comparable data, clearly hinders any attempt to assess variations in the scale of the problem within Europe.

In addition to these difficulties, patterns of football-related violence in Europe are constantly changing, and levels of violence cannot be relied upon to remain stable for the convenience of researchers and publishers. Even newspapers, with the benefit of daily publication, cannot always keep up with the changing trends. On Saturday 5 May, 1990, for example, the Independent reported a significant improvement in crowd behaviour in England, going so far as to claim that "hooliganism is not fashionable any more". Only hours after the paper reached the news-stands, 3000 Leeds United fans rioted in Bournemouth, and football-related disorder was reported in no less than nine other towns.

There is enough evidence, however, to show that football-related violence is by no means an exclusively ‘British Disease’, and that some European countries - the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy in particular - currently experience problems of football-related disorder comparable with those found in the UK.  


According to official data, there were 123 arrests of football fans, 513 injuries and 2 deaths in the 1988/89 season. From unofficial data (newspaper reports), researchers found evidence of around 65 violent incidents during the 686 Serie A and B League matches in the 88/89 season - i.e. violent incidents occurred at around 9.5% of matches in this category. Government sources gave a slightly higher estimate of 72 incidents - 10.5% - for this season. This compares with just two reported incidents during the 620 matches of the 1970/71 season (0.3%), indicating a significant increase in football-related violence over these two decades, although an increase in Press coverage of the problem during this period may be distorting the picture to some degree.

For more recent years, the figures available come from a different source - the police - and refer not to violent incidents per se but to cautions and arrests, which may be for a variety of offences, and injuries. The various sets of figures are therefore not directly comparable - and the numbers of cautions and arrests may tell us more about changes in policing methods than about actual variation in levels of violence - but these statistics may provide a rough indication of recent changes in levels of football-related ‘trouble’.

The number of football fans ‘cautioned’ by the police has risen from 636 in the 1988/89 season to 2922 in the 1994/95 season. The number actually ‘detained’ by the police has increased from 363 to 778. Data on injuries were only available for the 1990/91 season, when football related disorder was at its peak, probably due to the World Cup. In this season the records show 1089 injuries, compared to 513 during the 1988/89 season, but all other evidence indicates a decline in levels of violence during the following years. Nearly 2000 fans were ‘detained’ by the police during the 1990/91 season, for example, compared to 778 in 1994/95 - less than half the 1990/91 figure.   

Even if we ignore the unrepresentative peak in 1990/91, these police data would appear to indicate an overall significant increase in levels of disorder since 1989. There was also a spread of fan problems to Southern Italy, including Sicily, and to the lower football divisions. On closer examination, however, we find that 1989 saw an increase in the powers given to the police and the judiciary regarding the control of football crowds. It is well known that changes in policing methods and policy can have a dramatic effect on crime figures of any kind. In particular, increases in police powers and activity may result in massive increases in numbers of cautions and arrests, not necessarily associated with equally significant increases in the number of offences committed.

In line with a common trend throughout Europe, the most significant change in patterns of violence in Italy has been the shift from violent incidents inside the stadia (during the 1970s) to more incidents occurring outside the stadia (from the early 1980s).


A study conducted in 1987 reported ‘serious’ incidents (defined as those resulting in large numbers of arrests and people seriously injured) at 5% of football matches (8 out of 144 matches), with ‘less serious’ incidents (the term is not defined) at 15% of matches.

Four groups of supporters were identified as causing the most trouble: Anderlecht, Antwerp, Club Brugge and Standard Liege. These supporters were involved in all of the ‘serious’ incidents and in 4 out of 5 of the ‘less serious’ incidents. When two of these clubs met, there were always serious incidents (except when matches were played in Brugge, where drastic security measures had been introduced, including heavy police escorts to, from and during the match).

These four groups caused trouble considerably more often at away-matches than when playing at home - a pattern which seems to be common in most European countries. From the early 1980s violence has occurred more often outside the stadium, either before or after the match, rather than inside the stadium and during the match - again a common pattern throughout Europe. The list of key troublemakers has now expanded to include Beerschot, Charleroi, and RWDM, but the basic patterns of disorder remain unaltered.

The Belgian research project concluded that there are ‘distinct differences’ between what happens in the UK and on the European Continent, although the authors do not specify what these differences are. The researchers note that violence seems to be a traditional and now intrinsic element of football culture in the UK. They claim that this is not the case in Belgium, as football violence has only become a ‘systematic’ problem on the European Continent in the last 15 years, but express concern that "the acquired tradition for violence could lead to the same result". 1

According to Interior Minister Johan Vande Lanotte, this prophecy has not been fulfilled, and there has recently been a significant decline in violence at Belgian League matches, with violent incidents down by about 25% in the 1994/95 season.

Post-Heysel panic initially led to some excessive precautions - such as a match against Scotland where 600 policemen were brought in to watch over just 300 Scottish supporters - and the Belgian authorities have occasionally been criticised for heavy-handedness in dealing with visiting fans.

Lanotte claims that the recent reduction in violent incidents is due to somewhat less extreme security measures such as the obligatory use of video cameras by all first-division clubs, a doubling in the number of bans on troublemakers from stadiums, better ticketing systems to keep rival fans apart and more stewards. Evidence from other countries, however, suggests that periodic fluctuations in levels of football-related violence can occur for a variety of reasons, and that premature complacency over ‘proven effective’ security measures may precede a re-escalation of violence.

The Netherlands

As with the other countries included in this review, no reliable data were available on levels of football-related violence in the Netherlands.

Our calculations from the available information indicate that out of approximately 540 matches in a football season, 100 are defined as ‘high risk’. The ‘risk’ is not defined, and may not refer specifically or exclusively to actual violence: other problems such as ‘damage to property’ and ‘general disorderliness’ are mentioned in the report from which these figures are drawn, which also states that "large-scale, riot-like incidents are scarce." 2

Of the 80,000 people who attend professional football matches, only around 230-270 are defined as ‘hard-core’ hooligans, although a further 2000 are considered to be ‘potential’ hooligans. Taken together, these data suggest levels of football-related disorder similar to those found in the Italian and Belgian research, with aggressive or violent incidents - or at least the potential for some form of disorder - at around 10% of matches.

These figures are from 1987, since when there has, according to van de Brug 3, been a slight drop in football hooliganism, although he notes that:

" … events at a number of games played recently indicate that these outbreaks of football violence are far from being kept under control".

Researchers have recently become more cautious in their assessments of apparent declines in football-related violence, having discovered that their confident explanations of downward trends tend to be followed by embarrassing re-escalations. Also, many are understandably reluctant to suggest that there may be no further need for their services.

As elsewhere, the consensus among researchers is that football violence in the Netherlands has steadily increased since the early 1970s, with the 1980s seeing a massive increase in violence outside the stadia. There is some evidence of a slight reduction in levels of violence in the 1990s.

Hooliganism is concentrated in the top division of the sport, and even here only some teams have violent supporters. Certain groups of fans (known as ‘Sides’) are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the football-related violence that occurs in the Netherlands, and the ‘high-risk’ matches mentioned above invariably involve one or more of the teams with violent ‘Siders’. Currently, the main troublemakers are: Ajax (F-Side), Den Bosch (Vak-P), Den Haag (North-Side), Feyenoord (Vak-S/Vak-R), Groningen (Z-Side), P.S.V. (L-Side) and Utrecht (Bunnik-Side).  


No quantitative data are available on levels of  football-related violence in Germany, and there is very little empirical data on fans or their behaviour.

Some indication of levels of violence is provided by the German police, who expected a contingent of 1000 ‘category C’ (violent) fans to attend the Euro 96 championships, out of a total 10,000 supporters travelling to Britain (The Times, 21 May 1996). This suggests that around 10% of German fans are regularly involved in violent incidents - indicating levels of football-related violence roughly comparable with those in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The main hooligan groups are: Bayern Munich (Munich Service Crew), Braunschweig (Braunschweiger Jungs), Bielefeld (Blue Army), Duisburg, Dussledorf (First Class), Essen, Frankfurt (Alderfront), Hamburg, Hertha Berlin (Endsig/Wannsee Front), Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Offensive/Blau-Weiss Brigaten), Koln, Rostock, St. Pauli, Schalke 04 (Gelsen Szene).

Internationally, the German fans’ arch enemy has traditionally been Holland, although predicted violent clashes between German and Dutch fans at Euro 96 did not occur, indicating that levels of violence at international matches may be in (possibly temporary) decline.


Again, factual data on levels of football-related violence were not available.

Mignon4 claims that the first ‘hooligan incidents’ (the term is not defined), excluding those provoked by English visitors, occurred during the 1978-79 season, and the first groups of ‘kops’ and ‘ultras’ were formed in the early 1980s. What he calls the ‘ultra phenomenon’ did not expand nationally until after the Heysel disaster in 1985, when the main supporters’ associations of Paris, Marseilles and Bordeaux were founded. Acts of vandalism, fights and ambushes became more frequent during the latter half of the 1980s, some of which were associated from the start with the use of fascist symbols and racist slogans.  

Paris Saint-Germain supporters, in particular the group known as the ‘Boulogne kop’, and Marseilles Olympique supporters are the most numerous and powerful groups, and have the worst reputations. Others involved in disorder include Bordeaux, Metz, Nantes and St. Etienne.

Serious violence - i.e. incidents resulting in significant injuries - would seem, however, to be quite rare, even in skirmishes between ‘sworn enemies’, according to reports in the French fans’ own fanzines and Internet news-pages (rare sources of detailed, up-to-date information, and probably no more biased than the academic literature). All such encounters are described in some detail and with some pride in the fanzines, so it is unlikely that the authors are ‘playing down’ the level of violence. In a typical round-up report on the activities and achievements of a club’s supporters at, say, twelve to fifteen away-matches, only one or two aggressive incidents will be recorded, which may not involve actual violence or injuries.

This suggests that levels of football-related violence are generally lower in France than in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, although some serious incidents do occur, and further involvement of extreme-right groups may lead to an increase in violence.


In Sweden, there were 25-30 ‘serious’ incidents recorded during the 1995 season - an average of one incident per seven games. As usual, the term ‘serious’ is not defined, but this would seem to indicate levels of disorder roughly similar to those in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Like many other European countries, Sweden has seen a significant increase in football-related disorder since the early 1980s. One source5suggests a rise of 74% from 1984 to 1994.

No up-to-date figures were available for Norway or Denmark. Norway is known to be relatively trouble-free. Denmark has had some problems in recent years - following the publication in 1991 of a research paper explaining why football hooliganism did not exist in Denmark6, and some sources suggest that football-related violence at club level is still increasing7. Yet on the international scene the Danish fans - known as the roligans -- are currently winning praise for their good behaviour, and even at club level the problems are marginal compared to Sweden.


Although numerical evidence is again lacking, most accounts suggest that football-related violence in Austria has followed a pattern familiar throughout Europe, with a significant increase in violence during the 1980s, followed by a slight decline in the 1990s.

The more peaceful trend is evident among the majority of fans, but younger and more violent gangs of 13 -15-year-old ‘Wiener Hooligans’ continue to form. The 1990s have also seen an increase in violent incidents involving extreme-right skinhead groups. These skinhead groups are small, but form alliances with larger groups of soccer hooligans to inflate their numbers.


Although there have been some ‘local’ clashes between fans of rival teams, and some violent incidents at international matches, most football rivalries in Spain are inextricably bound up with sub-nationalist politics.

This may help to explain the lack of data on ‘football-related’ violence, as clashes between, say, Real Madrid and Athletico Bilbao supporters may be seen as having very little to do with football. Members of HNT - Athletico Bilbao’s largest supporters club - describe the club as "a militant anti-fascist fan-club".

Supporting a football team is clearly a political gesture: Athletico Bilbao draws support from Basques and anti-fascists living in other parts of Spain, who "identify with the values represented by the club" and claim that "when Athletico play in a final, 50,000 fans are cheering in Madrid bars".


According to a 1996 fanzine of the ‘Section Grenat’ (a Geneva supporters group), the word ‘ultra’ means nothing to most people in Switzerland. A few groups of active supporters appeared during the 1980s, although their impact was limited. Some groups developed a reputation as ‘fighters’ in the late 1980s, but incidents have declined and are now rare except between ‘sworn enemies’ such as Servette FC and FC Sion.

No official data on levels of violence are available, but in an internet news-page report of fan activity at 15 matches, only one aggressive incident is mentioned. This involved only a few ‘fisticuffs’, and had already calmed down by the time the police arrived.


The formation of football fan clubs in Portugal is a fairly recent phenomenon, dating only from the early 1980s.

At the 1987 European Conference on Football Violence, Portuguese researchers reported that "no violent action has been undertaken so far by the Juve Leo fan club [the largest fan club] or by any other national fan club", although they mention that "some of the language they use in graffiti is quite aggressive and provocative."8 It is interesting, and perhaps worrying, to note that the language in question is often English (e.g. "Juve Leo Areeio Zone - Keep Out Red Animals!"), despite the fact that few of their compatriots read or speak English. Marques et al see this as evidence of ‘mimetic behaviour’ - direct imitation of British fans.

The major clubs appear to be similar to the French and Swiss, in that each will usually have one sworn enemy (e.g. Juve Leo and Benfica), but be on friendly or at least neutral terms with the supporters of most other teams. Their stated aims of  ‘joyful and festive’ support for their teams, with significant emphasis on spectacular, colourful displays also suggest that rivalry centres on these elements rather than on demonstrations of toughness. Among smaller, local clubs, however, traditional rivalries between villages or communities can result in violent incidents at football matches.

Czech Republic

Czech football has no history of widespread or serious violence, but there have been some reports of incidents during the 1980s and early 1990s, mainly involving Sparta Prague fans. Recent incidents have occurred within the stadium, and involved attacks on opposing players 9 , although Sparta fans have also caused damage to trains en route to away-matches and been involved in street-fighting after derby matches10.

The national sports authorities are concerned about the behaviour of what they call ‘the flag carriers’, and commissioned a documentary film on Sparta fans entitled Proc? (Why?). Officials admit that this initiative did more harm than good, resulting in more widespread imitation of the Sparta fans behaviour – which started among crowds leaving the cinema after watching the film!

Following a train-wrecking incident in 1985, 30 fans were arrested, and warnings were issued that the authorities would not tolerate "the manners of English fans" in Czech football. National division clubs were then obliged to provide separate sections for away fans, and given the right to search spectators at entrances to the grounds. Further measures have included the banning of club flags and scarves and serving a weaker variety of beer at football grounds.


No general statistics or empirical data on football-related violence are available for Greece, but isolated accounts of violent incidents suggest that hooliganism in this country is currently in the ‘second stage’ of development (see ‘Conclusions’, below), with violence moving from attacks on referees to conflicts between rival fans, but still largely within the confines of the stadium.  


Very little information is available, but a 1995 Reuters report refers to a boycott by referees in protest against increased violence in football stadiums. Although referees seem to be the main target of violent attacks, the report also mentions fighting in bars outside the stadium following a first-division match, where police fired shots into the air in an attempt to break up the fight. The issue of football violence was being taken seriously by the Albanian Soccer Association, who supported the referees’ boycott and planned to hold meetings with the Interior and Sports Ministries to discuss the problem.

Fan profiles and behaviour


According to a 1996 report to the European Parliament, German fans, unlike the British, tend to come from the middle strata of society, and can be divided into three broad ‘types’:

"the ‘consumer-oriented’ fan, who sits in the stand or seeks a quiet spot on the terraces and wants to see a good game; the ‘football-oriented’ fan decked out in his team’s colours and badges, is a member of the supporters’ club and stands on the terraces and supports his club through thick and thin; the ‘adventure-oriented’ fan who changes his spot on the terraces from game to game and wants to see something happen, whether it has anything to do with football or not." 11

Roth’s classifications are based on the work of Heitmeyer, who notes that the ‘consumer-oriented’ fans pick and choose which matches they want to attend, while the ‘football-oriented’ attend every match and the ‘experience-oriented’ fans seek violent adventure both inside and outside the stadium.

The German police (in their annual report on football in 1993/4) use a rather more simplistic classification, based only on those aspects of fan behaviour which are of direct pragmatic interest to them. They classify fans as ‘non-violent’ (the peaceful fan), ‘prone to violence’ (the fan who will be violent given the right opportunity) and ‘actually violent’ (the fan who is determined to be violent). These last fans are known as ‘Category C’ fans, and in some cases occupy their own ‘block’ in the stadium (e.g. ‘Block 38’ at Cologne) every Saturday.   

Many hard-core troublemakers have been banished from the established, official supporters’ clubs, but some have formed their own gangs. The encounters between these groups are described in the magazine Fan-Treff as pitched battles, in which fans "knocked each other’s faces in with their belts", yet they are also reported to hold joint Christmas and anniversary parties, and hostilities are suspended for international games, when the rivals join forces. Fan-Treff reports that "In the German league they crack each other’s skulls. In the European championship you pitch in against the common enemy".

Reports of increasing involvement of extreme-Right, neo-Nazi organisations may be somewhat exaggerated. Although Nazi symbols and Hitler salutes have been observed during international matches, researchers do not regard these as evidence of significant neo-Nazi involvement in football hooliganism. (See Section 3.10.2)

An analysis of the political attitudes of German fans indicates that these symbols do have political meaning for around 20% of supporters, who reported sympathy with the neo-Nazi movement, and explicit links have been noted between some fan-groups and extreme-Right organisations. The majority of fans, however, either support one of the mainstream democratic parties (35%) or have no politics at all (24%).

Whatever the political motivations of some German fans, Thomas Schneider, co-ordinator of the ‘Fan Projects’ (see Section 8), asserted in the Times (21 May 1996) that the Euro 96 championship would "not be invaded by German Nazis. It is absurd and has been greatly exaggerated." Indeed, despite the attempts by the British tabloids to revive memories of the Second World War during Euro 96, there was no evidence of any political element among the German supporters.


Dal Lago12 describes Italian football culture as "a form of extended municipalism". The battle lines of the football ‘ultras’ are those of the ancient rivalries between regions and towns.

When supporting their national team abroad, Italian fans may, like other nations, temporarily suspend traditional city and regional antagonisms. When the World Cup Finals were held in Italy in 1990, however, the ‘ultra’ groups could not overcome their parochial hostilities to join forces against international rivals. The Napoli fans abandoned the Italian national team to support their local hero Maradona, who was playing for Argentina, while northern ‘ultras’ demonstrated their hostility towards Maradona, Napoli and the southern region by supporting any team playing against Argentina. This resulted in even skinhead/racist elements among the northern fans cheering in passionate support of Cameroon, rather than give any encouragement to their traditional regional enemies.

Various attempts have been made to establish demographic profiles of Italian ‘ultras’ (Roversi, 1994; Dal Lago, 1990; Zani and Kichler, 1991). There appears to be a wider range of social classes among ‘militant’ football fans than in Britain, although some researchers have found that the majority of hard-core ‘ultras’ are working-class, with a predominance of skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers. In support of Dal Lago’s claim that it is not possible to identify the ‘ultras’ with a particular social class, however, some surveys have shown a fairly high proportion of students and professionals among the Italian ‘ultras’. There are also larger numbers of females among ‘ultra’ supporters. As in France, the demographic profile of a group of football fans will tend to vary according to the social composition of the area in which the club is located, with a stronger working-class presence in Bologna, for example, and higher numbers of unemployed fans in Naples. This may account for some apparent contradictions in the findings of different surveys.

In all cases, however, the average age of the most militant and violent supporters was considerably lower than that of the more moderate supporters. In Roversi’s13 study 64.7% of those involved in violent incidents were under 21 years old. Zani and Kirchler’s findings showed that the average age of ‘fanatic’ supporters was 21, compared to an average age of 28 (in Bologna) and 36 (in Naples) among ‘moderate’ supporters.  

Both studies also found a higher proportion of blue-collar workers among the more violent or ‘fanatic’ supporters. Yet, according to Dal Lago:

" … the main difference between English and Italian football cultures does not lie in the social class distribution of the supporters, but in the presence or absence of a strongly structured form of association. Italian football culture is not only local and independent of social stratification, but is also firmly organised. Football in Italy is a national fever and, above all, for millions of citizens, workers, students and professionals, a structured way of life."14

In support of this view, he quotes a member of one of AC Milan’s ‘ultra’ groups, the Brigate Rossonere:

"As an ultra I identify myself with a particular way of life. We are different from ordinary supporters because of our enthusiasm and excitement. This means, obviously, rejoicing and suffering much more acutely than everybody else. So, being an ultra means exaggerating feelings, from a lot of points of view".

The Italian ‘ultras’ pioneered the highly organised, ‘theatrical’ style of support that has since spread to other nations. This style has now become predominant in France, and could also be said to have influenced the Danish ‘Roligans’, a number of Dutch supporter-groups and even the Scottish ‘Tartan Army’.

This style is distinguished by its emphasis on spectacular displays involving co-ordinated costumes, flags, banners, coloured smoke and even laser-shows - and on choreographed singing and chanting, conducted by ultra leaders using megaphones to prompt their choruses at strategic points during the match.

These spectacular and expressive aspects of the ‘ultra phenomenon’ are not separate from the ‘hooligan’ aspects. As dal Lago explains:

"Journalists and chairmen of clubs call ultras wonderful spectators, when everything is going well, such as celebration, but they call them hooligans when there is trouble. But, in both cases, they are talking about the same people".

Roversi’s findings would seem to confirm that a high percentage of ‘ultras’ are involved in violence as well as in theatrical displays: 49.2% of his subjects had been involved in fighting at the football ground, and 24.8% said that they fought whenever they got the chance to do so.

Today’s Italian ‘ultras’ are often seen as a continuation of the political extremists of the 60s and 70s. Similarities in their behaviour are cited as evidence of this connection. On closer examination, these similarities appear to consist of the singing of songs, chanting of chants and waving of flags and banners - along with passionate allegiance to a group and the formation of shifting alliances with other groups, and, of course, participation in disorder and violence amongst themselves and against the police.

It may be more helpful to regard today’s young ultras as the ‘spiritual’ descendants of the earlier youthful extremists - or rather to see both as manifestations of the same apparently innate desire among young Italians (and indeed the youth, particularly males, of most other nations) to shout, chant, wave flags, hold meetings and fight amongst themselves or against authority-figures. The fact that many of the ultras’ songs are adapted from, say, traditional communist songs is no more evidence of political sympathies than the extensive use of hymn tunes among British fans is evidence of ecclesiastical affiliations.

What can be said is that all of the behaviours characterising current ‘football hooliganism’ have been present in Italy, in different guises, for some time. Although the British have often been accused of ‘exporting’ football hooliganism, today’s young Italian ‘ultras’ clearly also had plenty of native traditions and role-models to follow, and certainly had no need to look to Britain for inspiration.


Football in France has never attracted the numbers of live spectators, or inspired such passionate support, as in other European countries. Despite the current popularity of the sport, even major cities cannot sustain more than one team, and matches attract on average only a third of the spectators of their equivalents in Italy, England and Spain.

In terms of popular interest and enthusiasm for the sport, however, football has enjoyed a ‘renaissance’ in France during the 1980s and 1990s, following a distinct ‘slump’ during the 1960s and 1970s. Various explanations have been proposed for both the slump and the renaissance, the most convincing suggesting that interest has revived largely due to the successes of French teams in international competition and the accompanying large-scale investment in the ‘promotion’ of football (Mignon, 1994).

The revival of popular interest in football and the increase in attendance at football matches has been associated with the emergence of new types of supporters and new forms of fan-behaviour - including an element of  ‘hooliganism’.

The demographic profile of the French football crowd differs markedly from the British, in that all social classes (apart from the aristocracy) are well represented. Some sources suggest that the majority of spectators are working-class (Bromberger, 1987), while others indicate that the middle classes predominate (Ministry of Culture, 1990). Patrick Mignon15 points out that the variation in the statistics may be due to the location of the clubs included in demographic surveys, and concludes that on a national basis: "with the exception of the upper classes, all of society is found in the stadium". Bromberger16 has also noted that in France, all social groups can identify with some aspect of football.

The social background of ‘ultra’ or ‘hooligan’ supporters, as opposed to football spectators in general, is somewhat more difficult to determine, as no quantitative surveys have been undertaken on these groups, which emerged in the early 1980s. An analysis based on records of Paris Saint-Germain supporters detained for questioning by the police between 1988 and 1992 reveals that ‘hooligans’ are young, white males, predominantly working-class, employed in both skilled and unskilled jobs in more or less equal numbers. Some of the more powerful ‘skinhead’ members of the Paris Saint-Germain ‘kop’, however, come from the upper-middle classes - sons of lawyers and senior managers. According to Mignon, a number of these supporters, who in the late 1960s and early 70s might have expressed their dissociation from their bourgeois origins through a different form of solidarity with working people, are now involved in the ‘white French’, racist movement.

In line with recent developments in Britain, some skinhead elements among French football supporters no longer call themselves ‘skinheads’: they are now known as ‘casuals’ and a number have shed the traditional skinhead dress and hairstyle. There is still some overlap between the original skinheads and their ‘casual’ successors, and both groups have been involved in football-related racist attacks and other violent incidents associated with football matches. In addition to the skinheads and casuals, a number of less easily identifiable groups of football fans are also suspected of having extreme-right leanings, and in some cases these links are explicit.

Among the majority of supporters, however, there appears to be a move away from the English style of dress and behaviour - which is more strongly associated with extreme-right tendencies - towards the Italian style. Originally, the ‘kops’ groups, found in clubs north of the Loire, adopted a predominantly English style, while the ‘ultra’ groups, located in the south, favoured the Italian style. Currently, the national tendency is toward ‘Italianisation’ and this distinction no longer applies.

Mignon notes that the rather dour English style is characterised by a lack of ‘props’, orchestrated displays or other visible demonstrations of group identity, relying on an established ‘football culture’ to provide an innate sense of collective identity, in-group solidarity and opposition to other groups. The problem for the French fans attempting to emulate the English style is that there is no pre-existing ‘football-culture’ to provide the essential ideological unity and sense of belonging. The more organised and theatrical Italian model - with its badges, scarves, stickers, banners, videos, fanzines, choreographers and conductors - provides this sense of community and establishes a clear group identity.

More recent evidence from French fanzines indicates that the Italian style has been adopted with increasing enthusiasm. The stated objectives of the ‘Bordeaux Devils’, for example, are:

" … to create a good-humoured and joyous Ultra group" and "to support our team by livening up the terraces with our displays and chants, but also to create a real group with its own identity, to promote a convivial group where people know each other and enjoy meeting each other both in the stadium and outside".

The ‘Devils’ internet news-pages also demonstrate an obsession with the theatrical and artistic elements of supporter activity such as ‘tifos’ (orchestrated displays) and ‘gadgets’ (brightly-coloured props and paraphernalia).17

In fact, judging by their own fanzines, French ultras are considerably more interested in these creative elements than they are in any form of aggression. Rivalry between clubs seems to centre on who stages the most spectacular tifos (displays), performs the most original chants and demonstrates the greatest enthusiasm in support of their team - rather than who is the ‘toughest’.

Clubs tend to have one main enemy, and somewhat hostile relations with the supporters of one or two other teams. The rest are regarded merely as neutral ‘rivals’, and a club will often have positively friendly relations with the supporters of at least one other team. The most frequently cited example of a friendly relationship is that between Bordeaux and St. Etienne supporters. Such an alliance would be unheard-of in England, and highly unlikely in Germany and Holland, where rival fans only suspend hostilities when supporting their national team in international competitions. Alliances and ‘twinning’ between supporter-groups used to be found in Italy, but have recently declined.

Thus, although the French ‘ultras’ are influenced by the Italians, there are some significant differences in their attitudes. It is no accident that the term ‘tifo’ in Italian means ‘football fanaticism’ in general, whereas in France ‘un tifo’ means ‘a display’ (specifically a choreographed display using coloured cards, banners, fireworks, etc. by fans at a football match) and nothing more. The concept seems to have lost something in translation, namely the Italians’ dominant concern with passionate loyalty, leaving only a passion for the aesthetics of loyalty. The adoption of an Italian word in itself indicates the importance of the Italian ‘ultra’ influence in France, but the re-definition of the term suggests that this influence is a matter of form rather than content: the French fans have adopted the flamboyant style of the Italians, but without the background of deep-seated traditional allegiances and rivalries.

Football rivalries may provide French fans with a sense of belonging to a group, a stage for competitive artistic display, an excuse to ‘let off steam’ and, occasionally, to prove masculinity in aggressive or violent encounters. The references to ‘passion’, ‘hate’ and ‘enemies’ in the French fanzines are, however, somehow unconvincing. They recognise that these sentiments are expected, but their expression does not appear to come from the heart, which may perhaps account for the lower levels of actual violence among French ‘ultras’.

The Netherlands

Although football hooliganism in the Netherlands is said to have been heavily influenced by ‘the English Disease’, the Dutch followers of the national team appear to have adopted a more ‘Italian’, theatrical style in recent years, characterised by colourful costumes and displays, and a carnival atmosphere of singing, dancing and good-natured celebration. Hostilities between rival groups are suspended as they join forces to support their national team, and at Euro 96 no hostility was displayed towards international rivals either. The predicted battles between Dutch fans and their arch-enemies the Germans did not occur, nor did they take the opportunity to prove themselves against the ‘market-leaders’ of hooliganism in England.

At home, however, hostilities continue, both between rival groups of fans and between ‘hools’ and the police. These encounters are described with pride and illustrated with photographs in Dutch fanzines and Internet news-pages such as the Daily Hooligan.

Football hooliganism in the Netherlands has followed much the same pattern of development as other European countries (see Conclusions, below), with an initial stage of sporadic violence directed mainly at referees and players, followed by a phase of increasing aggressive encounters between rival fans, and between fans and police, inside the stadium, followed by an increase in violence occurring outside the stadium and less obviously related to the game itself.

Van der Brug18 claims that ‘Siders’ (the Dutch equivalent of ‘ultras’) are becoming increasingly detached from their football teams and clubs, and that disorder is now a primary objective in itself:

"The numbers of people that travel to away matches are a clear indication of this tendency. In contrast to matches which promise little excitement, high-risk matches when a team with a violent Side are playing are attended by far greater numbers of young people. It often turns out that young people take to supporting another team when things at their first club become a bit dull."

In terms of socio-demographic profile, Van der Brug (1994) claims that the Dutch ‘Siders’ are a less homogeneously working-class group than their British counterparts, although he gives no specific data on their socioeconomic backgrounds, beyond showing that their educational level is generally lower than that of their fathers, indicating a trend towards ‘downward mobility’ among football fans that has also been observed in other parts of Europe.

Van de Sande19 also claims that Dutch football fans "can be found in all socioeconomic classes", although he adds that "the main part of the public is lower class, in so far as a lower class can be said to exist in our prosperous country!".

From police data on arrests, Van de Sande finds, not surprisingly, that all offenders were male, 43% aged 16-18, 28% aged 19-21 and almost none over the age of 30. All Dutch researchers appear to have found that hooligans have experienced a problematic school career and lack of effective parental control (van der Brug and Meijs, 1988a, 1989; Van de Sande, 1987; Bakker et al, 1990, etc.). These factors are frequently cited as ‘causes’ of football hooliganism, rather than as characteristics of football hooligans.


Horak20 and his colleagues found that members of Austrian fan-clubs were generally young (average age 18.6 years, younger in the ‘more active’ fan-clubs) and belonged mainly to the  working and lower-middle classes - although a high percentage (23%) were unemployed. An element of ‘downward mobility’ was also noted, with fans achieving lower standards of education and social status than their parents.

Whatever their ‘official’ social class, active fans followed "masculine-proletarian norms of behaviour" in which "physical violence is a standard means of solving conflicts, important factor in the process of self-identification among the young." Half of their interviewees had been in trouble with the police, mainly for vandalism but some for incidents involving physical violence - although the researchers point out that violence in this sub-culture is "more expressive-affective in nature than instrumentive" and that serious injuries are very rare.

When incidents did occur, according to Horak and his colleagues, they differed from the international norm in that clashes were not between rival groups of fans but between juvenile fans and other spectators. Hostilities were not based on rivalries between different clubs but on "antagonism between the inhabitants of small cities and a specific urban sub-culture". Austrian fans are nonetheless highly loyal to their teams, and both ‘tough’ and ‘moderate’ fans indicated willingness to engage in violence ‘on behalf of’ their club. In line with other European nations, fans tended to cause more trouble at away-matches than at home games.

More recently, observers have noted an increasing involvement of neo-Nazi skinheads in Austrian football hooliganism. Although understandable fears tend to lead to exaggeration of this factor, and the numbers of skinheads in Austria is small, reports of alliances between skinheads and ‘hools’ (football hooligans) have contributed to concern about the threat to public order posed by this ‘combined force’.


At conferences and in research papers on football fans, the Scandinavian countries tend to be lumped together under one heading. We have followed this tradition for convenience, and because there is a degree of cultural unity between the Nordic nations, but must emphasise that there are considerable differences in fan profiles and behaviour between Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which are outlined separately below.

In their paper presented to the 1996 ‘Fanatics’ conference in Manchester, Andersson reports that both Sweden and Denmark have problems with football hooliganism, while Norway does not. During the 1990s, both Sweden and Denmark have seen outbreaks of football-related violence. Norway has not experienced similar problems, with the exception of some incidents provoked by a group nicknamed ‘Ape Mountain’, supporters of the Oslo club Valerenga.21


Most of the problems in Sweden in recent years have involved supporters of the three Stockholm clubs ALK (Black Army), Djurgarden (Blue Saints) and Hammarby (Bajen Fans).

The only public investigation into hooliganism, by the National Council for Crime Prevention in 1985, concluded that those responsible for violence and hooliganism were ‘troublemakers’, rather than ‘ordinary lads’, on the grounds that 60% of those arrested had criminal records. This research has since been criticised, however, for flawed methodology, particularly in terms of sample selection, sample size and questioning methods.

Subsequent projects have focused on finding solutions to the problem of hooliganism, rather than finding out what it consists of, such that demographic data on fans is limited. As in other European countries, however, a significant current concern is that the fans involved in violence are getting younger. Ten years ago, 18-20 year-olds were most frequently involved in assaults and acts of violence, whereas today the statistics indicate an increase in the number of 15-17 year-olds involved in violent incidents.

Andersson and Radman report that around 25-30 ‘serious’ incidents occurred during the 1995 season - i.e. approximately one ‘serious’ incident per seven matches. Unlike most other writers on this subject, Andersson’s team take the trouble to specify what they mean by the term ‘serious’. Their definition is worth quoting in full, not merely out of gratitude but because it provides some insight into the behaviour patterns of Swedish supporters. Andersson defines ‘serious’ as:

" … any one of the following situations: groups of supporters in direct conflict with each other or the police or guards; attempts by supporter groups to carry out any of the above acts but which have been prevented by the police; and attacks or attempted attacks by the spectators on players or officials." 22

Although the proportion of trouble accounted for by these different behaviours is not stated, it is interesting to note that attacks on officials and players are still frequent enough to warrant inclusion in the Swedish hooligan repertoire, while in many other European countries violence is now almost exclusively directed at opposing fans or at the police. It is also worth noting that in this report, and therefore perhaps in many others where the terms are not defined, ‘serious’ does not necessarily always mean ‘violent’.

Hooliganism in Sweden, as in the other Scandinavian countries (and indeed other countries throughout Europe) is a ‘club-level’ problem, and does not occur at international matches. Even at club level, however, it is important to get the scale of the problem into perspective. An investigation of the 3000 members of one of the main fan-clubs - Djurgarden’s ‘Blue Saints’ - reported that just 30 (1%) of these fans would ‘be prepared to start a fight’, with a further 20 (0.6%) willing to ‘join in a fight’. The remaining 2,950 declared themselves to be mainly interested in football. Even if the fans questioned were ‘down-playing’ their violent tendencies, these figures suggest at least that the majority of Swedish supporters do not see themselves as violent.

These data may not be reliable, but the comments of a police officer lend support to the view that the problem of hooliganism in Sweden has been exaggerated: "I’m fed up with all this talk of hooligans," he said "I don’t like the word. If you were to count the real troublemakers, those whom one can really call hooligans, then you would find three all told in Gothenburg"

These uncertainties and disagreements about the scale, or even the existence, of a football-hooligan problem in Sweden have not prevented the authorities from taking action to tackle the problem. Measures adopted in 1996 have included registration and investigation of fans and a "22-point program" to prevent football-related violence, clarifying the responsibilities of clubs for the behaviour of all spectators the grounds, and for their members’ behaviour at away matches. Racist and other prejudiced slogans are banned, as are slogans insulting the opposing team or even ‘booing’ of the opposing team or players! Any aggressive or violent incidents incur serious fines and result in all of a club’s matches being graded as ‘high-risk’, and some clubs have brought in private security firms to keep order.

Despite these measures, the start of the 1996 season was marred by several violent incidents - although the evidence above suggests that only a very small minority of supporters engage in such behaviour.


The successful rise of the Danish national football team since 1980 has been championed by its enthusiastic but peaceful supporters, the ‘Roligans’ (from ‘rolig’ meaning ‘peaceful’), who are seen as the antithesis of the typical English hooligan.23

The majority of ‘Roligans’ (42%) are in skilled or civil service jobs. The average age is 31 - considerably older than football fans in other European countries.  Overall, around 15% of fans are women, but the organised Danish Roligan Association reports a 45% female membership.

The leading, fully-professional Danish football clubs, Bröndby and Copenhagen FC, attract the largest supporter groups. The Bröndby supporter club boasts 10,000 registered members, making it the largest in Scandinavia.  Football is a family activity in Denmark.  Not only are there large numbers of women in the stands, but many families come with young children and even infants.

Of all the Scandinavian fans, the ‘Roligans’ appear to have the closest ties to both the game itself and the clubs.  Surveys indicate that between 80-85% of ‘Roligans’ have themselves played club football.

According to Eichberg24, the secret of the Roligans good nature is that they have not forgotten that "Football is to do with laughter." The serious patriotic associations of the game are caricatured in the Roligan displays: faces are painted with the country’s red and white colours, which match the bright scarves and T-shirts, and "the whole is topped with the Klaphat, a grotesque red and white hat with movable cloth hands attached for applause."  Even the influence of excessive alcohol consumption, another trademark of the Roligan, seems only to further the festive cheerfulness and peaceful sociability of the fans. The carnival atmosphere often spills out into the streets where large groups of dressed-up liquored Roligans have been known to lead conga dances through towns.

Eichberg regards this behaviour as more than simply a manifestation of the "culture of laughter" but also as a form of social control.  When individuals attempt right-wing outbursts such as shouting Sieg Heil and other such provocative remarks, they are "immediately calmed down by other Danes". This control may also have a lot to do with the fact that right-wing political adherents are a weak minority among Roligans (12%): 47% define themselves as socialist, with women reporting an even higher percentage - 65%. Only 5% of the women claimed to support the right-wing Populist Progress Party.

Like most other European countries, Denmark experiences more problems internally, at club level, than at international matches. (In fact, hooliganism in the Scandinavian countries is confined almost exclusively to club-level games, behaviour at international matches being generally exemplary.) Despite the saintly reputation of the Roligans, Denmark has experienced a few outbreaks of violence at club matches during the 1990s, particularly at local Derbies in Copenhagen. Presumably not all Danish football supporters subscribe to the dominant Roligan culture. It must be said, however, that even problems at club level are described as ‘marginal’.


In 1994 Norway was at the top of the sporting world.  The huge success of the winter Olympics in Lillehammer was crowned by the achievements of the national football team in the World Championships the following summer.  Patriotic fervour was at an all-time high and expressed itself in colourful, but mostly non-violent support for the Drillos, the national team.

Norway has, for the most part, been free of football-related violence.  The only exceptions to the ‘model fan’ image are the supporters of  the Oslo club Vålerenga - the so-called ‘Ape Mountain’ - whose deviant exploits include robbing a hot-dog stand (somehow 41 people managed to get arrested following this incident in 1993); roughing-up, but not injuring, a linesman (1995); one violent attack on a rival female supporter (1995); and one assault on a policeman during a local derby.  The most highly publicised incident involved the antics of just one fan who scaled the roof of a beer tent during the 1992 European championships in Målmo and was accused of starting a ‘riot’.

Apart from these incidents, which can hardly be said to constitute a serious problem, the behaviour of Norwegian supporters, at club level as well as internationally, is characterised by vociferous, but peaceful, enthusiasm. Even between arch-rivals such as the provincial clubs Rosenberg and Brand, there is little or no overt hostility. In a non-violent atmosphere, they compete fiercely with each other for the best songs, costumes, and beer-drinking parties.

Andersson and Radmann suggest that the conduct of Norwegian police may help to explain the largely peaceful behaviour of the fans. While the police have absolute responsibility for football crowds, "they never appear in large groups, or go armed with helmets and weapons when on duty at club matches." This is in direct contrast to the approach of the Swedish police, who attend most matches equipped with the full regalia of shields, helmets, visors and weapons.


Despite the predominance of opinion and theory over fact in the available literature, it is possible to draw a few conclusions and make some predictions based on the empirical evidence.

1. First, it is clear that some form of disorderly behaviour has occurred in virtually every country in which football is played. Disorder of some kind would appear to be a near-universal and seemingly inevitable accompaniment to the game of football, and is unlikely to be completely eradicated.

2. But we cannot conclude from this that all disorder or violence associated with football is of the same nature, or influenced by the same causal factors, regardless of the form it takes or the culture in which it occurs. Nor can we assume that the same remedies will be equally effective in preventing or reducing football-related disorder in different cultures.

Among the academics engaged in the football debate, even the most vociferous and belligerent defenders of a particular explanatory theory have come to admit that universal explanations cannot accommodate all cross-cultural variations. In a moment of modesty, Eric Dunning25, suggests that with hindsight, his seminal work The Roots of Football Hooliganism should have been entitled The Roots of English Football Hooliganism.

3. Dunning proposes the hypothesis that football-related disorder is:

" … contoured and fuelled, ceteris paribus, by the major ‘fault-lines’ of particular countries. In England, that means social class, in Glasgow and Northern Ireland, religious sectarianism, in Spain, the linguistic sub-nationalisms, and in Italy, the divisions between north and south."

One might disagree with Dunning about the precise nature of the relevant ‘fault-lines’ in these countries, or perhaps argue that these examples are over-simplified, but the evidence suggests that his central point should be accepted.

4. Despite the fact that national characteristics reflecting different historical, social, political and cultural traditions have affected the nature and scale of football-related violence in different European countries, there are significant cross-national similarities in the ‘stages of development’ of the problem.

In most countries, there appears to have been an initial stage of sporadic violence inside the stadium, directed at officials such as referees or at players themselves.

This is followed by a second stage involving an increase in aggression between opposing groups of fans and between fans and police/security officers, still within the confines of the stadium, involving violent encounters during pitch-invasions and the creation of ‘territories’ which rival fans attempt to ‘capture’.

The third stage involves a significant increase in violence outside the stadium, including pitched battles between rival groups of fans in the streets; ‘ambushes’ at railway stations, in car parks and bus-terminals; acts of petty theft and vandalism and frequent clashes with the police. In this third stage, observers almost invariably notice an increasing detachment of hooliganism from the game of football, whereby participation in violence - or at least some form ritual warfare - outside the stadium appears to be an end (excuse the pun) in itself.

This is, of course, an over-simplification: there are overlaps between these stages and also some exceptions to this pattern. Yet most of the European countries currently experiencing problems with football fans have seen a pattern of development incorporating at least some elements of this ‘three-stage’ process, whatever other socio-historical-political-cultural influences may have been involved. While recognising the limitations of such a broad-brush, generic picture of the development of football hooliganism, we must also be aware of the dangers of becoming so bogged down in the details of cross-cultural differences that we fail to see the international patterns.

In summary, the evidence indicates a more-or-less universal pattern of development, which is nonetheless ‘contoured and fuelled’ by different socio-cultural-historical factors in different European countries, resulting in both recognisable similarities and important variations in the nature and scale of football-related disorder.

5. In most European countries, football-related violence is largely an ‘internal’ problem, with the majority of incidents occurring at club-level matches, while supporters of the national team abroad are generally well-behaved.

The English are an obvious exception to this rule, and rivalries between some other nations, such as the Dutch and German supporters, have led to violent conflicts. These incidents seem recently to have diminished, however, and clashes predicted by both the police and the media at the Euro 96 championships did not occur. Even the English fans failed to respond to tabloid-press calls for a re-play of World War Two.

Euro 96 may of course represent only a temporary cessation of hostilities between the main international rivals, but the pattern of violence between club-level enemies contrasting with relatively peaceful support of the national team seems fairly well-established in many European countries. This pattern is partly responsible for the still-prevalent assumption that only England has a serious problem of football violence - because the violence of English fans is highly visible on the international stage, while other nations’ hooligans confine themselves mainly to parochial warfare.    

6. Football hooliganism is clearly not an exclusively ‘British Disease’. The British are, however, frequently blamed for ‘spreading’ the Disease. The Leuven University study concluded that:

"all the lines lead back to British hooligans. They are seen as the professionals. They are the great example to hooligans from all over the rest of Europe." 26

The historical evidence, and the research findings on cross-national variations summarised in this section, suggest that although some football supporters in some European countries may regard the English hooligans as ‘role models’, others have quite deliberately adopted a very different - indeed opposite - style of behaviour. Those who have consciously rejected the English model include the Scottish ‘Tartan Army’, so the ‘disease’ can certainly no longer be called ‘British’.

Throughout Europe, we find that while some countries may exhibit some of the symptoms of the so-called ‘English Disease’ (the Danish Roligans drink a lot, for example, and the Italian ‘ultras’ fight), the manifestation of these symptoms is not sufficiently uniform to justify a confident diagnosis (the ‘Roligans’ do not fight, for example, and the toughest of the Italian fighters tend to avoid alcohol). Have the English hooligans somehow selectively infected the Italians with their bellicosity and the Danes with their drinking habits? Do the Norwegians, but not the Swedes, have some natural immunity to this disease? Has the Scottish ‘Tartan Army’ experienced a miracle-cure?    

Clearly, the picture is rather more complex than the Leuven conclusions would suggest. The evidence indicates that different forms of football-culture, including ‘hooligan’ elements, have developed in different European countries. This development has certainly involved some cross-cultural influence, but the fact that British hooliganism had a ten-year head start on the rest of Europe does not imply that all subsequent ‘hooliganisms’ are mere imitations.

The Leuven researchers are right, however, to point out that the British, or more accurately the English, are widely regarded as the ‘market leaders’ in this field. English hooligans provide the benchmark against which the violent elements among other nations’ supporters judge their performance. It is no accident that these groups - and indeed any groups striving for a ‘fierce’ and powerful image, whether they are in fact violent or not - tend to give themselves English names and use English football-jargon in their slogans, chants and graffiti.

There are some recent indications, however, that the international influence of the belligerent English style may be on the wane, as self-proclaimed non-violent, fun-loving groups such as the Danish Roligans and Scotland’s ‘Tartan Army’ succeed in grabbing the headlines. A concerted pan-European media conspiracy to give blanket coverage to the ‘carnival’ groups, while ruthlessly cutting off the oxygen-of-publicity supply to the ‘hooligan’ groups, might help to encourage this new fashion.


9. Reuters, 1995

11. C. Roth, 1996 – Report to the European Parliament

17. URL=˜perrauld/.endev.h tml

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