Violence in Sport
Causes of Violence
It would not be possible to cite all the causes of violence hence I shall try as much as possible to limit myself to the causes which I consider to be the most important ones at least in our continent.
- Exploitation of sports results for political, racial, tribal or religious ends.
- The relations between the stability of sports officials and the results achieved (including coaches, players, etc.)
- The biased press declarations which sometimes – for the sake of saving friends – justify bad results, distort the truth and incite to violence and revenge.
- Free sale of alcoholic drinks in the stadium; superstitions.
- Ignorance of the Laws of the Game.
- Behaviour of some referees, their relations with the host Association and material advantages.
- Popular blow-up because of political and social problems.
Analysis of Causes and Consequences
- In some countries, the clubs are structured on tribal,
religious or political basis. If spectators are convinced that bad results go against their tribes’ dignity or their religious virtues, it becomes practically impossible to make them accept a defeat with a sporting spirit.
- On the occasion of a few matches, when emotions
reach an uncontrollable level, when ages – suppressed grudge breaks out on this great day of the match, it is inevitable that violence explodes in the stadium.
On the other hand, when political officials believe that sports results may be exploited to solve serious political or social problems or may be used to demonstrate the superiority of an ideology over another, they may, in the midst of such frenetic justificative victories become themselves provocative of violent reactions as and when the results achieved do not meet their expectations.
We have many times noted that bad results are followed by the dissolution of Associations, firing of regularly elected officials and their replacement by provisional members (caretaker) to the extent that it has become rare in Africa to see a regularly elected official terminate his mandate. Everything is completed like a coup d’etat. It is a permanent conflict between the officials in power and the opposition. The latter lies in wait for a failure of the ruling team, a failure which itself sometimes provokes and excites to the point where it is called upon to take the reins of power. In pursuance of this aim, the opposition knows no retreat, it stirs up public abhorrence and provokes violent manifestations. The coach whose career is at the mercy of a simple result, the players whose social promotions depend on their performance on the playing fields, are obliged to seek victory at all cost. From there, to aggression against opponents and referees, there is only one step to leap.
- Most of the journalists who accompany the teams are fans and hence incapable of making an objective analysis of the situation.
They sometimes depend on the sports authorities in their countries and are obliged to invent all sorts of excuses to save the souls of the officials with whom they often have advantageous relations.
Sometimes also they are a part of the sports delegations and, like the players, they receive some bonuses according to the results achieved. Here too, they must defend their interests.