Despite the warning of UEFA – the European Union Soccer Federation – handed out after the Marseilles, there has been a repeat of it in Lille. This time the Russian hooligans went after the British and Welsh supporters.
It is interesting that the Russian supporters are unmindful that already the Russian Soccer Federation has been fined 168,000 dollars over and above the threat hanging over their heads that they risk being expelled from the Euro 16 Soccer Tournament altogether, if they do not mend their ways. They have also ignored the appeal of their coach, Leonid Slatsky, to behave or suffer the consequences.
There are disturbing signs to come out of this soccer tournament. This is not the first time it has occurred in France, and indeed in Europe, that the soccer hooligans take sway over social order in Europe and vent worse-than-animal behavior in a sporting event. In 1998, when France hosted the World Cup, a similar thing happened.
In various sporting events in Europe this has been recorded. It is particularly common in Russia where the fans have been recorded for this kind of behavior where it has had racist overtones particularly where there are African players in the pitch.
It is apparent that Russia does not want to reign in its supporters during such encounters. In Marseilles, there has been a tendency to blame this hooliganism on excessive alcohol consumption before the match. But the indications coming from Russia is that these hooligans have been taking some kind of military drills for the occasion.
Indeed the Russian hooligans who carried out the attacks on their British opponents were said to have been sober; that they did not consume any alcohol at all before the act of bestiality.
In fact, instead of restraining its supporters at the tournament, the Russian minister of Sports, Vitali Mudkov, glossed over the Russian supporters’ behavior and went ahead to blame the UEFA fine as being excessive. This tended to corroborate the reaction of one Russian parliamentarian, who said that hooliganism was all right to express the Russian might at the sporting event.
So it goes to show that the physical training before the tournament was deliberately planned and orchestrated to indicate some kind of warped expression of Russian pride in Europe.
Being a totalitarian state, it denotes that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is likely to have ordered this to show his displeasure at the sanctions the West has slapped upon Russia because of the Crimean annexation and the conflict with Ukraine.
This might show that Russia does not care about being chased out of the tournament, considering that they have already made their disruption against France’s hosting of the championships. Of course this has financial implications and public relations overtones for the organizers.
Many of the players who are participating in the tournament are drawn from their respective clubs in the Europeans soccer associations. As such the Uganda soccer fans who avidly follow the European soccer leagues identify with some of the countries where these players are competing in.
They are following the tournament on the video screens; and are therefore, witnesses to the bestial hooliganism that has been aired. Watching some of the violence, it is instructive that our own soccer aficionados should take cognizance of the fact that these fellows, who they are following, do not deserve the respect that they accord them.
One sees our own fans shouting themselves hoarse and behaving in unacceptable manner when they view these and the European leagues’ matches. They show more attachments to these other clubs than their own local clubs.
They should channel that energy into promoting the local clubs and players to excel in order to reach the excellence of the international scene such as these other leagues have arrived at. This is not always the case: the local aficionados know more about these foreign clubs and their players than the local ones, even where it is obvious that there is a level of racial profiling against Africans in those countries.
It is not a case of paying back race for race, but instilling pride in the local participation and acceptance. In so doing, one does not extend this kind of behaviour the European soccer fans have exhibited, and then grafting it on the African sporting scene. firstname.lastname@example.org