Three games of European football, two in the Champions League and one in the Europa League, were affected by serious incidents this week. At one, the Dortmund game, the attack came from outside, but in the other two it was football itself that harmed itself, with intolerable behaviour from various groups of hooligans. It's a phenomenon that, having been dormant for a while, is back, no doubt because we let our guard down. At the European Championships last summer we saw disgraceful behaviour from the English and above all the Russians. And that's provoked others into going back to such disgusting ways. Leicester fans were boorishly out of control here in Spain, while in Lyon there were massive fights between the French and Turks.
Humanity from Dortmund and Monaco fans
To cheer me up, a friend highlighted the wonderful behaviour between the Dortmund and Monaco fans. Once news of the attack spread, the Dortmund fans offered to put the Monaco fans up in their houses. The travelling fans had shown their support for Borussia Dortmund when they learned of the explosions, and did the same the next day. A fine portrait of humanity in the face of outside brutality. Something to take from a horrendous day, when Uefa got it wrong (they should have waited till Thursday to play the game, to give Borussia Dortmund more time) and the police did even worse, 'solving' the case by banging up someone who had nothing to do with it, when they still knew nothing.
Return to European football's bad old days
And here in Spain, the Leicester 'fans' sowed mayhem from the high-speed AVE train to Madrid's Plaza Mayor, where they even horribly taunted the beggars. And in Lyon there was a pitched battle. We need to treat this behaviour more severely. Once Uefa was capable of kicking all English clubs out of Europe for the barbarous actions of Liverpool followers in the Heysel stadium, in the final against Juventues. It was a draconian punishment, possibly debateable, but it worked. I fear we need to return to that kind measure, because the decent majority, those we saw in Dortmund, shouldn't have to put up with the thugs.