by Tony Attwood
You probably saw the stories: “Croatia fans threw flares onto the pitch hitting a steward amid the latest sickening scenes at Euro 2016 in France”. The match was stopped, fans called “sports terrorists”. And all reported in bold, and often in capital letters.
Could it have anything to do with the fact that these were NOT English fans. A case of showing that the really nasty and dangerous behaviour comes from beyond England.
“Sickening scenes” said the Daily Mail with a lot of commentary about how “Stewards were woefully under equipped to deal with the flaming missiles which were thrown on the field. They attempted to cope with the projectiles using welding gloves, shovels and buckets in an effort to allow the game to resume.”
Not too much thought then on the fact that a series of games at the Emirates in the last two years have had incidents involving flares and smoke bombs. Matches against teams such as Watford, Liverpool and Everton have been notable for the incidents.
No mention of the fact that Liverpool? have already faced and are still facing a whole series of charges from Uefa as their Europa League campaign created all sorts of disciplinary issues. No mention of the quarter final second leg against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield where fireworks and a flare were thrown on to the pitch.
Or the Uefa disciplinary proceedings against Liverpool after the Europa League final for crowd disturbances and the setting off of fireworks. And this in addition to the fact that Liverpool are also facing Uefa disciplinary action following their Europa League ties against Manchester United as well as Borussia Dortmund again for setting off fireworks, throwing objects and more general crowd disturbances by their fans.
Man United were also charged with crowd disturbances and throwing objects, in addition to blocking stairways. For the Borussia Dortmund games they were charged for fans letting off fireworks in the first leg in Dortmund and again for the setting off of fireworks after a flare was thrown on to the pitch at Anfield.
Untold has been commenting on the danger of flares for several years now, noting that there is a particular flare problem associated with Liverpool Everton and Watford, and there seems to be a particular problem at Arsenal Stadium, where visiting fans have been seen forming barriers to stop the stewards get anywhere near to the culprits.
Some rulings have been announced by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) for the Liverpool home game against Borussia Dortmund on 14 April 2016
Charges against Liverpool FC: Setting off of fireworks – Art. 16 (2) DR
Decision – Liverpool FC: To fine Liverpool FC €11,000.
And for the home game against Manchester United FC (2-0) on 10 March 2016 and the away game against Manchester United on 17 March 2016.
Here the decision was to fine Liverpool FC €40,000 for illicit chants with half of this fine (€20,000) being suspended for a probationary period of two years. Plus to fine Liverpool FC €17,000 for all other incidents. In addition, Liverpool FC is ordered to contact Manchester United FC within 30 days for the settlement of the damages caused by its supporters. There is no information if Liverpool FC complied with this.
The issues relating to the final of the Europa will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on 21 July.
These fines are very small, for a football club which in its last financial statement announced
• Revenue increased by 16.5 per cent to £297.9m.
• Media revenue increased by 21.5 per cent to £122.6m.
• Commercial revenue increased by 12 per cent to £116.3m.
• Matchday revenue increased by 15.9 per cent to £59m.
• Profit before tax was £60m compared to £0.9m in 2014.
So here we have a company that made £60m profit
Liverpool, for activity which can result in the loss of an eye, and other serious injuries have been fined 0.3% of its profits for actions which can have incredibly serious repercussions. Is that what body parts are worth these days?
But worse, no one in the media has complained.
Meanwhile 7 out of the 24 nations in the Euros have now been called before the beak for misconduct. That’s 29%. Can you imagine if 29% of a country’s population was arrested or told to report to officialdom because of a misdemenour? Would make for very crowded police stations.
Figures and reports in this article (apart from the last paragraph) taken from the Uefa disciplinary reports.