Violence as the new “fan culture”? – If so, can the abolition of stances be the absolute solution to this?

2 minutes before the final whistle, hundreds of people storm the field. They burn fireworks, celebrate and cut off the grass roots at the penalty spot.

This was the situation last week in Düsseldorf when the Relegationsspiel against Hertha Berlin took place. Fans going absolutely crazy, flipping out and destroying the playing field. Leaving a great mess behind them.

Following the news regularly, I can say that I really gain the impression that the aggression and violent “fan culture” have risen enormously in the last years and are still rising. In media this problem is often marked out, but how do fans themselves see this problem? Or maybe do they see any problem, at all?!

Ambivalent opinions of fans

According to this statistic conducted by soccer-fans.de, 69% of the asked fans see a problem of violence in the “Bundesliga”! Many people claim that the number of fans going to a game just for drinking alcohol and rampaging has grown to a non-supportable extent.Even Franz Beckenbauer proposed the abolishment of stances to reduce aggression. As violent fan support could mainly or exclusively be assigned to these types of tickets and the ticketholders usually consumed alcohol in a great amount, “One should also consider alcohol-free beer”. However, he also points out that the majority of the stances fans were not the problem. He states that

“The problem are the wirepullers in the background. Really artful people who send someone ahead and use him for his purposes. It is calculatio and that is why it is dangerous.”

On the other hand, there are people like the singer Campino from the Toten-Hosen who has been a fan of the soccer club Fortuna Düsseldorf for decades. He himself composed the song “Tage wie diese” which has been the hymn for Düsseldorf’s advancement. To the question if he found the atmosphere and situation in the stadium menacing, he answers:

“Not at all. It was pure euphoria. It had nothing to do with violence, there was no single slap in the face, no black eye, no injuries.”

And this is what also many other bloggers state: “I am active stadiumvisitor myself and I can tell from my own experience that, luckily, (…) the most ones which make 99% go to the game to see their club’s game, to support them and then go home afterwards. Many fans enjoy a little talk with the other team’s supporters in shuttle busses, or tubes (…)”

DFB’s point of view

Germany is the only country that stick up for the preservation of stances. According to the DFB’s general secretary Helmut Sandrock, the german soccer fans are privileged with cheap admission charges and the omission of fences.

However, due to the current situation “it should be allowed to think about these privileges”, claims Sandrock and emphasizes that this would be a possibility to contribute to more peacefulness at soccer games.

Less support?

In England, stances have also been abolished in the past. Since then, the number of spectators has decreased constantly. Do you think the teams benifit from this?

I guess not.

As the “real fans” often cannot or do not want to afford seats, they “consume” less tickets for games. In the long term, this will have financial consequences and the soccer clubs will earn less money. I mean, I really cannot say if some clubs will grow bankrupt. – Probably not, but losses will be there.

Another question would be now: Can we hold this incredible atmosphere in stadiums if we do not have these extremely loud and supportive fans anymore?

I mean are  soccer games not mostly about the feeling and the atmosphere?

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