Thursday, March 01, 2007

Message In A Bottle

The trainer of Sevilla football club, Juande Ramos, was left unconscious after being hit by a bottle during a cup tie last night against their city rivals, Betis. He had to spend the night under observation in hospital but it appears that there is no serious damage. The match was halted after the incident, it was a game that was preceded by an ugly war of words between the two clubs as Betis attempted to prevent the Sevilla president from attending. A few observations occur to me following this incident:

Football clubs in Spain frequently seem to be run by megalomaniac businessmen with a mental age and maturity that would leave most three year olds feeling a bit superior. The two clubs in Sevilla are excellent examples of this.

The reaction of the Spanish football federation will be very interesting to see. Spain is in the curious situation of having a governing body for the game that is so inept and in the pockets of the member clubs that they had to create a special commission separate from the federation to deal with cases of violence. Fines handed out by the federation itself are rarely more than a few hundred euros, and despite this are almost invariably subjected to appeal by the affected club.

Week after week it's possible to see objects raining down onto football pitches here with no action of any kind being taken to prevent it. The stewards don't act, the police don't act. The clubs in Spain simply refuse to take responsibility for what happens inside their stadiums. What happened in the Sevilla-Betis game is just a bad case of something that is almost routine and almost always goes unpunished.

But then hooliganism is always something that only exists overseas. Perhaps this incident will be the wake-up call that is needed, but I'm not convinced.

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