Barbarism, sadly, begins at home

Yesterday, first on social media and later on the news bulletins, we witnessed the appalling images of an all-out brawl between parents during a children’s football match in Alaró, Mallorca. Punches were thrown in a furious attack as bewildered and horrified children looked on while a mother tried, unsuccessfully, to pull away her husband. It was a rumble which, as tends to be the case in these things, has provoked criticism of ‘violence in football’. There is an impulse in certain sections of society which tends to think that football generates episodes like we saw yesterday – that violence is an intrinsic element of the game.

Savages exists in all walks of life

Personally I do not share that view. I believe that there are simply nasty people in all walks of life, football included – a sport which attracts a large number of people and huddles them all together in a concentrated mass. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t read a news report of some brute who killed his wife, purportedly “because she was mine”... Can we really hope that such people would be able to behave themselves, say, in football, or anywhere else? Every week there are dozens of fights which I am ashamed to say, seems almost routine in today’s society. But when fighting happens in football, it is football which gets the bad press and prompts terrible criticism.

Brawling parents to be prosecuted

It is those who commit acts of barbarism who are to blame, and in that children’s match, there were several such animals. But football has rules which must be obeyed and a referee who should impose them. Of course football has its problems – the worst of which occur at grounds where a large group of low life are gathered together to trade blows. It’s a strange anthropological peculiarity which we are trying to put right. But the answer isn’t about anathematizing football, but rather singling out the hooligans and applying the law. The Balearic Federation Balear will be bringing charges to see those involved in the Alaró incident brought to justice. I am very glad to hear it. That is the right way forward, along with education through the media.