We have been shocked by a resurgence of football hooliganism in Spain. Recently, there was the incident in the Seville derby when a plastic flag pole came flying onto the pitch at the Real Betis' Benito Villamarín stadium and hit Sevilla player Joan Jordán on the head.
Just a couple of days later, Atlético Madrid's bus was attacked as the team drove to Real Sociedad's Reale Arena stadium for their Copa del Rey clash. Since the unfortunate death of Jimmy, a Deportivo fan, who was killed in Madrid in 2014, still to be resolved, a kind of 'spirit of Ermua' has crept into our football. Part collective shame, part measures implemented by LaLiga.
Hooliganism creeping back into game
Maybe it's the pandemic, which has kept us locked up for so long. Perhaps it is also that we have had empty stadiums for so long which has reset the entire system. It is happening in other places too. France has experienced some difficult episodes of hooliganism that it deserves for the leniency of the clubs towards the ultras. England has also suffered from an unprecedented level of incidents. Almost half of all matches have required police intervention, with more than 800 fans arrested so far this season.
Action must be taken. It is a laborious issue that requires continuous attention to identify the culprits and remove them from the game, but above all it requires every club to make its own effort. It was not ideal when Betis put the focus on Joan Jordán, who was hit by a fan, when they should have turned their attention to the 'supporter' in the ground. It was not good that Real Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacil limited himself to apologising and saying "La Real fans are not like that". We were doing so well with this before, let's not spoil it again.