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Football Violence: A huge threat at Russia 2018 World Cup

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Football violence has existed almost since the start of the game and a nadir was the Heysel Stadium tragedy in 1985 that led to a new approach to tackling it with regulations put in place – the English clubs were banned for five years, including other penalties.

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Although the sanctions did not end violence in football, it did successfully manage it but, admittedly, hooliganism has reared its ugly head from time to time as has been the case recently.

In Euro 2016 Russian, English and Croatian fans were involved in violence and the authorities preferred not to harm the overall image of the event by using subtle management approaches and this has worsened the situation to the extent that it is even predictable now.

Worse still, a big difference on the threat is that much of what is going on is being carried out by organised criminal gangs.

UEFA and FIFA are aware of the perpetrators and a source at the European governing body even told a sports news outlet that the clubs being studied are Spartak Moscow, KS Cracovia, Legia, Feyenoord, Ferencvaros, Marseille, Nice and Lille.

West Ham caught the attention due to crowd trouble last weekend but Premier League clubs are well controlled in the the UK.

Why is it then that UEFA are not taking action?

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They complain that local police and clubs are not working hard enough on the problem and an example of this is that three weeks later, at the UEFA headquarters there are still not all the documents over what happened outside San Mames when a police officer was killed during clashes between Athletic and Spartak Moscow ultras.

Spain is not free of violence but there are reasons to be positive with a recent report showing that the number of dangerous fans travelling to games has dropped by 53%. The number of detainees has gone up to 130 compared to 66 from last season and more fans are also being expelled from stadiums.

Still there are incidents like that outside the Wanda Metropolitano when a supporter was knifed before the Atletico Madrid and Sevilla game.

The authorities have identified six main supporters groups: Frente Atletico (Atletico Madrid), Riazor Blues (Deportivo), Biris Norte (Sevilla), Malaka and Frente Bokeron (Malaga) and Iraultza (Alaves). Also identified is that these groups are not just united through football but they also share a similar right-wing political ideology.

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