Football hooliganism: What can be done to reduce its prevalence?

On 10th March 2019 in a football match between local rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa, a Birmingham City fan encroached onto the St Andrews pitch. He headed for Aston Villa talisman and captain Jack Grealish with malicious intent, targetting him with a potentially jaw breaking punch. The hostility in a derby match like this was expected, with Birmingham midfielder Kieftenbeld being booked inside 4 minutes for a rash tackle on Grealish. The hostility should never result to violence and hooliganism, or any athlete fearing for their own safety.

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Grealish being targetted by the spectator, who has now been arrested according to West Midlands Police.

Thankfully the instrumental player of the claret and blue faithful was well enough to continue, later scoring the only goal of the game in the 67th minute. After starting with a horrific scare it soon became a day to remember, as he has now scored in both league fixtures against the Blues this season. It was also the Englishmans 2nd appearance as Villa captain, being a boyhood dream to lead out his favourite club.

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Jack Grealish celebrating after his goal led Villa to a one nil win over bitter rivals Birmingham City.

Some would say karma caught up with Birmingham City after the antics of one individual, whom they’ve now issued a life time ban to. The standard reaction to football hooliganism generally involves arrests and bans, but is this alone enough to combat such a prevalent issue? Gary Neville (@GNev2) calls out for a points deduction or a stadium ban for 10 games, to act as a deterrent. In my opinion it is difficult to punish an entire football club for the actions of one person, but something must be done so horrific issues like this can be eridicated.

The individual won’t be stepping foot into St Andrews again but who is to blame? Should individuals be educated further? Potentially through explaining the serious reprecussions they could be faced with. Or could those in charge of security be more protecting? We do not have fences in the stadia to block pitch access, with fans safety a priority. Stewards are in place in their numbers for derby matches particularly, to guard the pitch and monitor crowds. Although when issues of pitch invasions are a persistent issue, should safety concerns be revisited?

I’m interested to hear your views. This kind of reckless behaviour can not be tolerated on a sports field or anywhere in society. Do comment your views and opinions on the matter of football hooliganism, and how you think the safety of players can be improved.

7 thoughts on “Football hooliganism: What can be done to reduce its prevalence?”

  1. It’s hard to say what could be done because some people are just the way they are and not much can be done really to change they want they behave and think. Hopefully, the prison sentence, not seeing his kids and the fact he would have lost his job is a good enough deterrent for him to think twice next time.

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    1. Yes, it can be very tough. Sometimes education is important but not always enough, which is why punishment can work well. If the punishment is strong enough and appropriate, I would like to think most of the time it is enough for people to rethink. Sadly this is not always the case and possibly why issue still persist. I think more significant sanctions to be given, potentially quite bold and alarming ones, as this issue cannot contine at all.

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  2. At least in the UK it’s not a ‘massive’ issue – although this one really did get looked at by the media. In terms of preventing it, I’m sure there is more that could be done by clubs but then it is the question of how much burden are we going to put on clubs versus the individual fans. I do agree that in instances like this it’s an obvious failure of the stewards/security so Brum should’ve got some form of penalty akin to a stadium ban or something. In the PL at least I’m sure that loss of income would make the club think.

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  3. How do you reduce hooliganism, particularly the situation that happened with Jack Grealish? Fear. Fear can be achieved by introducing stricter laws. Even criminals can get scared, and will think twice before pulling of a violent crime if there’s 20 years imprisonment on the line.

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    1. Although I think 20 years is a bit ‘extreme’ I do agree with your premises. Our punishments always seem very minimal and should be quite hard. Bigger fines, etc. Something that is actually going to make people regret and think twice about doing it again. Otherwise the issue will just repeat and repeat.

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    2. I agree. I think football bans need to be looked at as well because they aren’t working at the moment. Football bans are very easy to get around and they really aren’t a deterrent.

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