FORA Culture

Season 2008 Episode 1102

Battle of Ideas: Is Abuse Ruining Football?

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Battle of Ideas: Is Abuse Ruining Football?
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British football crowds have always been known for their banter towards players, managers and opposing fans. Football terraces have traditionally been places to let off steam and behave in a way that would not be acceptable in other public spaces. Creating a hostile atmosphere often helps give your team the edge in a close encounter.Recently, though, some worry things have gone too far. They say the level and personal nature of the abuse is worse than in previous times, and that something needs to be done.The unpleasant invective directed by some Colchester United fans towards Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder, who had suffered a brain tumour, is a case in point. And while racist chanting is largely a thing of the past, the continued sectarian chanting between Rangers and Celtic fans in Scotland is seen by many as typical of the backwardness of football fans.Is the problem of abuse in football getting out of hand, or are the recipients just becoming thin-skinned? Was the traditional terrace culture somehow more civilised, with banter infused with a dose of humour, however cruel? Or is this a nostalgic view, overlooking the menace of hooliganism and racism?Some argue all-seater stadiums and 'family-friendly' policies have turned the atmospheric stadiums of old into sanitised theatres with intensive surveillance and stewarding. At the same time, some fans have become so obsessed with football, even living their lives through it, that they no longer know where to draw the line. Do we take football, and ourselves, too seriously? - Battle of Ideasmoreless
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