[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.

    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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    Last updated: 12 June 2000 12:39
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