Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spanish Football For Beginners....The Botellazo And The Paliza

The botellazo is a tactic that has already been used in the past with some success by supporters of Real Betis. It is a defensive strategy that only comes into use when the team looks to be in danger of losing a game. Although technically illegal, the authorities have done little so far to prevent its use; something which probably accounts for its continuing popularity as demonstrated in the recent game against Athletic Bilbao.

Under no circumstances should any stewards ever be employed to prevent the throwing of objects onto the pitch, that would count as unsporting behaviour as well as being an intolerable breach of the long-standing right to throw bottles. In the case of any punishment being applied to the club, even a light one, an immediate appeal must be lodged. Failure to do this may result in the intolerable situation where football clubs in Spain become obliged to assume responsibility for the behaviour of their supporters.

The paliza is a more offensive strategy and begins with the local sporting press creating the right conditions for the use of the tactic. Here we have an example from the other side of Sevilla:

Crush them....they cannot escape alive

Once the right atmosphere has been created then the action can begin. Any suggestion that these tactics have anything in common with the phenomenon commonly known as "hooliganism" should be quickly rejected, such foreign imports are regarded with suspicion by the true fan.

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