[Press & Publications] Euro 2000: The Threat of Hooliganism [Football]



June 2000

No 117

Experts in football research at the University of Leicester - the first in the country to carry out in-depth research into football hooliganism - have highlighted the considerable potential for violent disorders during Euro 2000.

Professor Eric Dunning, of the Centre for Research into Sport and Society and author of Sport Matters, said: The potential for violent disorders in the context of Euro-2000 is considerable because, contrary to the prevailing view, the problem of football hooliganism has not been 'cured' or gone away either as a domestic or international problem -there was, for example, widespread violence during Euro-96, especially on the night of the England - Germany match.

Hooliganism is a problem, not only in England but also, especially, in Holland and Belgium, the host countries, and Germany, which topped the European 'hooliganism league' in a recent Council of Europe report.

Following recent events in Istanbul, Leeds and Copenhagen, Turkish fans also pose a threat both as targets and aggressors.

Professor Dunning added that there were other reasons for the potential for violent disorders:

  • The Netherlands and Belgium are small countries where travel is easy and fan groups are likely to find themselves in close proximity and to meet when travelling around;
  • It has been officially admitted that the system of ticket distribution is unlikely to produce full fan-group segregation. This will be a source of tension and may lead to fights. Moreover, the Charleroi ground where England are due to play Germany is inadequate and likely to pose serious problems;
  • Past experience suggests that official arrangements between countries to prevent and deal with crowd trouble at international tournaments are less effective in practice than is formally promised;
  • As its history suggests, football hooliganism is a complex and deep-rooted problem and is unlikely to yield to the sorts of politics that have been used in an attempt to control it so far.
  • NOTE TO NEWSDESK:

    For more information, please contact Professor Dunning on 0116 252 5940 (work), 0116 212 7183 (home).

    The University of Leicester has a number of experts in football research. They are:

    Dr Ivan Waddington - 0116 252 5935 - sport, health and drugs,

    Dominic Malcolm - 0116 252 5933 - football fans, crowds and disorders,

    Mike Rowe - football hooliganism - 0116 252 5705,

    John Williams - 0116 252 2741 - Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research at University of Leicester,

    Martin Roderick (ex professional footballer) - careers of professional footballers - 0116 252 5941,

    Sharon Colwell - refereeing - 0116 252 5930,

    Dr Sean Perkins - facilities for disabled football fans; the relationship between football clubs and local authorities; football merchandising; the impact of football stadia on local communities, and the changing geographies of football support - +44 (0)116 252 2751,

    Donna Woodhouse - football for females in England, the United States, Germany and Norway - +44 (0)116 252 5159,

    Jon Garland - hooliganism, policing and racism issues - 0116 252 5701.


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