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Once referred to as the “English disease,” football violence, or hooliganism as it was termed, has a long and complex history, not just with English football, but all over the world. We investigate the origins of violence in association football and its precursors and argue that it is a persistent feature of football’s culture. Whilst there is statistical evidence suggesting that violent behaviour is decreasing in many countries (helped by better policing strategies, including closed circuit television (CCTV) and covert surveillance as well as the enforcement of stricter regulations for offenders and clubs), it remains a valid area of enquiry due to the multifaceted ways in which it continues to exist. We examine football violence in its cultural, social and historical contexts through the perspectives of 1,500 British fans regarding the extent to which violence remains an unwanted fabric of football culture in the twenty-first century. Overall, fans reflect on the sanitization of British football from the 1990s and the so-called civilized supporter base now watching football inside stadiums.
KeywordsPremier League Closed Circuit Television Association Football British Football Perimeter Fencing
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- 1.Although mainly a male activity, Giulianotti (1999) suggests that women do engage in or support violent disorder.Google Scholar
- 2.Banning orders are time limited and, because of this, are expiring all the time.Google Scholar
- 3.For an analysis of Spanish ultras, see Spaaij and Viñas(2005)Google Scholar
- 4.Gil (2002) outlines how the Argentinian judiciary used the term barra bravas to describe the hooligan element of fandom. Whilst journalists express the fanaticism of the barra bravas, others stigmatize them as animals that are intent on hurting people.Google Scholar