I've been told that FIFA are set to adopt a a firm stance against this recent outbreak of football related violence that we've seen over the past week or so and I stand firmly by this position. We're seeing a series of unpleasant events unfolding around the continent and a worrying precedent is being set. The Heysel stadium disaster in the mid 1980s was somewhat of a watershed for the modern game with one of the outcomes being the five year ban handed to English clubs from participating in European competitions. Things moved on without the English teams with a firm stance being taken by Europe's football governing body.
In the domestic game in England the Hillsborough disaster also marked a turning point for the game. Terracing was banned and all-seater stadiums introduced in the top flight as the country who invented football was instrumental in bringing it into the modern age and it worked. Time has moved on and I was alarmed to see the scenes at Parc des Princes last week and the apparent passivity displayed by the Ligue 1 club. That however wasn't an isolated incident. This weekend supporters of both West Ham and Lille stormed the pitch with stewards and even players coming under attack. Hardcore Hamburg fans have threatened their under-performing team and scenes of the owner of Geeek side PAOK taking to the pitch with a pistol visible wore beamed all around the world. And then there is the Russian 2.0 model of football hooligan..
Most of this has nothing to do with football but it's also invariably indirectly linked with the game at the same time. Each club and each federation has a responsibility and a role to play. I'm not suggesting these are easy tasks as on many occasion we're talking about the most undesirable elements in each city. It requires conviction and a courageous approach from each club to single out trouble makers linked to their team. They need to be supported by both FIFA and UEFA in handing out hard-hitting sanctions. If the undesirable elements insist in using the smokescreen that the game offers for their unruly acts, then the governing bodies need to analyse and address the problem. Here is where I want to see a serious standpoint adopted by the new people at both FIFA and UEFA.