Monday, 18 October 2010

The ugly game

Fans of international football will no doubt be aware of the crowd trouble at the Italy - Serbia game last week.

Quite what the cause behind the hatred was is still not clear. But the spiteful, thuggish and tribal nature of the violence sums up why all members of society - not just members of the LGBT community -feel threatened by football.

The fact that some of this hate was directed at their own goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic surley indicates these were mindless vandals far right-wing activists rather than football fans.

It would not be wrong to assume the same people lighting flares were among those clashing with police at the recent gay pride march in Belgrade.

The losers from this violence will be the Serbian FA and its football team. They will be the ones punished with a hefty fine and possible exclusion from the championship.

It is up to the authorities to take control and prosecute some of these violent troublemakers to preserve the sport's reputation.

Look at the UK in the 1980s - it is possible.

But until Serbia - and other countries in former Eastern Bloc - do this the beautiful game will continue to be described as the ugly game by a large number.

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