The number of people who attended AFL matches in 2012 was 6,778,824 according to the AFL.
The number of riots in that time, let alone riots that resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of damaged property, was zero.
Right around the world, tens of millions of people attend matches from various sports without feeling the need to destroy property. The MCG survived the Boxing Day test without incident. Rod Laver arena is still in good nick after the Australian Open. New Orleans will most likely have a riot-free Super Bowl XLVII. And Augusta’s trees, fairways and greens will go unscathed in the upcoming US Masters.
Whether it’s baseball, basketball, wrestling or caber tossing, crowds come together peacefully and for the most part, leave the same way.
But when it comes to the “World Game”, there seems to be a problem in that regard.
It is quite likely that the vast majority of “soccer” games are played without incident between rival spectators. It is also likely that the trouble is caused by a minority of thugs.
But there must be ‘thuggy’ types who follow AFL, or NFL, or NBA, or even tennis. Why are they not causing riots from time to time, and smashing property in the process? And what’s with the flares!?
It seems to me that often, the trouble is caused by racial tension that dates back centuries, and the behavior is more in keeping with rioting that comes from political or religious unrest. But is that all it is?
It seems to me that when it comes to world sports, rioting, violence and thuggery on a consistent basis (even if on a small scale) is unique to soccer culture. So what is it about soccer that creates conflict?
And how can it be addressed?