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Soccer Hooliganism Introduction The report contains an up-to-date review of research and theoretical approaches to football violence in Europe The historical development of the problems in various countries is outlined Specific attention is given to the role of the media the emergence of overt racism at football matches and the alleged influence of alcohol consumption on violent behaviour The content of each section of the report is summarised below History The game of football has been associated with violence since its beginnings in 13th century England Medieval football matches involved hundreds of players and were essentially pitched battles between the young men of rival villages and towns - often used as opportunities to settle old feuds personal arguments and land disputes Forms of folk-football existed in other European countries such as the German Knappen and Florentine calcio in costume but the roots of modern football are in these violent English rituals The much more disciplined game introduced to continental Europe in 1900s was the reformed pastime of the British aristocracy Other European countries adopted this form of the game associated with Victorian values of fair-play and retrained enthusiasm Only two periods in British history have been relatively free of football-related violence the inter-war years and the decade following the Second World War The behaviour now known as football hooliganism originated in England in the early 1960s and has been linked with the televising of matches and of pitch-invasions riots etc and with the reclaiming of the game by the working classes In other European countries similar patterns of behaviour emerged about 10 years later in the early 1970s Some researchers argue that a similar proletarianisation of the game was involved but there is little consensus on this issue and much disagreement on the extent to which continental youth were influenced by British hooligans Theory and research
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