Musings From the Bench

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Soccer, or futbol as most of the rest of the world calls it is a sport with a multitude of passionate fans–sometimes too passionate.

At the May 2, 2014 game at Estadia do Arruda in Recife, Brazil, between Santa Cruz and Parana, fans of Parana were asked to leave early in an attempt to avoid any fan violence. This didn’t sit with three Santa Cruz fans who ripped three toilets out of the stadium bathroom, climbed the stands to the top deck and proceeded to throw said toilets down upon Parana fans. One toilet struck 26-year-old Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva full on killing him instantly Three others were injured.

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said police were outside when this happened and is confident police will find the person whose action caused Paulo’s death.

So far no one has come forward to accept responsibility for this senseless act nor has anyone come forward as a witness.brazil-soccer-death

As punishment of this incident, the next two matches at the EdA will be played without supporters, and the Santa Cruz fans are banned from all stadiums until the murderer, and in my opinion it was murder, is identified. That means to me no World Cup for them except on TV.ArrudaStadium-Pardaphash-159307

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said, “Violence in stadiums must be strictly curbed by police and criminals should be investigated and prosecuted. Futbol stadiums are the scene of joy and passion. We must all unite for peace in the stadiums.” I wish her luck with the upcoming World Cup.

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Soccer violence in Brazil really isn’t anything new. In 2013, 30 people lost their lives to soccer violence in and out of stadiums. In February supporters of the Corinthians broke into a training center and attacked players for playing poorly. December saw a game stopped so a medivac helicopter could transport a man beaten unconscious. That incident got an official response from FIFA guaranteeing “a very comprehensive security concept” in place by June 12th, opening day of  World Cup play.

And don’t think it’s just fans getting violent. During an amateur game in Maranhao, a referee was stoned to death and then decapitated by fans after fatally stabbing a player.

Oh, and the first game scheduled for June 12th in Sao Paulo is Brazil versus Croatia. They expect a crowd of 3 million will attend with none of the matches being played at the Arruda Stadium. Probably ran out of toilets.


As I stated, soccer violence isn’t anything new. The phenomenon can be traced all the way back to 14th-century England. King Edward II banned the sport because he believed “the disorder surrounding matches might lead to social unrest or even treason.”

Hooligans seem to care more about the violence then they do the game itself and will engage in the behavior before the match at the risk of being arrested, denied entrance to the stadium or ejected during the match.

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Police in various countries with hooligan activity are taking steps to prevent as much violence as possible by:

a) banning items that could be used as a weapon or missiles in stadiums and searching those they suspect are hooligans

b) banning identified hooligans from stadiums either with court orders or just denying them entrance on game day.

c) building stadiums with seats only–no standing areas–less crowd movement

d) segregating fans with fences to keep fans away from each other and off the Pitch (playing field)

e) banning opposing fans from matches and/or ordering specific matches to be played behind closed doors (fanless)

f) compiling registers of known hooligans

g) restricting the ability of known hooligans to travel overseas.



There are many who believe books and movies such as I.D., The Firm, Cass, The Football (Futbol) Factory, Green Street, Rise of the Footsoldier and Awaydays glamorize violence and the hooligan lifestyle making it seem attractive to those who view them.


What do you think?


Thanks for reading. Until next time.



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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. Sports is not that freaking important that you need to get rowdy, and often too drunk to care about how you act, and often cause destruction, serious injury and sometimes death. Unfortunately, we see the same type of behavior in the states surrounding baseball, football, hockey, etc… even on the college level.

    Incidents in Boston/NY… San Fran/LAD are just two examples that come to mind. Fans rioting in Storrs after UConn won double basketball titles is another recent example.

    These peeps need to be preoscuted to the fullest extent of any laws that can be applied.

    Bottom line: Violence in the name of fan/team loyalty is assinine.

    In fact, the truth be told, you ain’t a fan of anything except hate, if, you can’t control your emotions and behavior.

  2. As a soccer fan, you really can’t stop hooliganism as you noted. The World Cup however does do a good job at limiting in stadium hooligan violence because FIFA really does have a list of noted hooligans and not only are they denied stadium access, many of them are limited from even entering the country the World Cup is held in. Yeah, believe it or not there is a list for that!

    That’s why I don’t think we’ll hear of any stadium violence at the upcoming World Cup.

    Unless . . . Brazil doesn’t win. If Brazil doesn’t win this Cup, I’ll be real interested to see the images that will emerge.

  3. I’ll tell you one thing—-I am sooo glad FIFA has banned the use of those vuvuzelas (sp). Even the players said at the last World Cup that the noise made it difficult for them to hear themselves on the field.

    As for knowing who the hooligans are, I read that they are starting to dress like ‘regular’ people so they can still get into the stadiums.

    I wish the countries playing for the World Cup all the luck in the world.

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