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October 2016
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Why are flares at a Euro game big news by flares used by fans of English clubs a minor matter?

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.

Strange that.

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.



23 comments to Why are flares at a Euro game big news by flares used by fans of English clubs a minor matter?

  • Leon

    Some years ago a Welsh supporter was killed by one of those marine emergency flares fired during a Wales v Romania match in Cardiff. These are seriously powerful projectiles and would certainly in most cases kill anyone they struck, yet two brothers from Wrexham took one to a football match and fired it at other fans, their own national team’s fans.
    Only sentenced to three years, and people still take flares & fireworks to matches.

  • Ajay

    I do not see any co relation between football and flares or fireworks. I don’t get how individuals can get something of the sort through the gates as that’s a fire hazard and lastly to throw them with out any remorse at another human being who is there just to celebrate, officiate or play the game of football is nothing but cold blooded and sickening. These delinquent’s being protected by a barricade of people show how values and morality in society at large is crumbling. Do they not realise the folly of their actions, that people can die or be severely injured. Or has it come to “we don’t care so long as it ain’t us”?? Time has come for football organisations, clubs to do their bit in educating their supporters of the consequences. No longer should we shrug and move on.

  • porter

    Flares , used to be oranges with razor blades in them or coins with sharpened edges. Very little has changes except the projectile.

  • norman14

    I’m pleased that you mentioned the “chair throwing” Walter, as it lends me a link to the behaviour of some fans during these Euro’s.

    I was told not too long ago to “always read the history” before agreeing or disagreeing with another’s point of view.

    The shame that is forcing Croatian football supporters into attempting to wreck their own country’s progress at Euro 2016 is something that perhaps we on UA, can associate with, due to the suspicions we have of the FA and PGMO.

    Arseblog today shared that link – and it shows football in Europe to be nothing more than corruption and modern slavery.

    With the case of Eduardo de Silva, it begs the question if our football club was complicit in his situation.

    Desperate times = Desperate measures!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    In my own contribution to this topic, official fireworks display should still be allowed in stadia at the end of Cup finals for ceremonial and celebration purposes.

  • Menace

    Arsenal (Rambo) 1 Russia 0

  • Menace

    Wales 2 Russia 0 (28 mins)

  • bushido

    flares and smoke bombs is totally dangerous and have no place in football. kind of weird as Tony mention above’ how the media barely mention or properly reporting the news about the smoke bombs and flares incident involving fans from Everton, Liverpool and Watford at the Emirates. whether the fans had been arrest or their respectively clubs had been punish or fines. the authority need to sanction a heavy punishment both to the culprits and their clubs bcos this is obviously no laughing matter. the media in England also have to play their role to report it like they report the news when it involved foreign clubs or country. but i doubt it will happen cos we well aware how the media in England behave when it involved club in the premier league, only certain club will be targeted and portray as a villain. (i could be wrong)

  • Menace

    While it is the responsibility of the clubs to ensure their supporters do not carry flares. Arsenal have been slack in checks of away fans. The checking should be more robust.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I was afraid when Wilshere was hurled down by his marker at the center left of the midfield as he was racing down the field alongside that his opponent marker. But thank God, he wasn’t hurt as he went on playing. But he has appeared to be careful with his playing from that moment.

    The England attackers have all come close at taking the lead against Slovakia as they’ve dominated possession by 64% to Slovakia 34% with Vardy coming very close to scoring as he was laid with a long pass to the left side of the field and he shrugged off his marker but the Slovakia keeper’s feet denied him. And I think Sturridge too came close with a shot which the keeper parried over.

    Any chance of the England manager bringing on Rashford for Sturridge at the halfway into the game at 2nd half? And I suspect Rooney maybe brought on for Wilshere later into the game. The 2nd half has just kickoff some 8 minutes ago. So let me stop typing to concentrate on watching the match.

  • bushido

    man of the match performance by A.Ramsey tonight with 1 goal and 1 assist as Wales beat Russia 3-0

  • Pat

    Great article, Tony. Definitely hypocritical of the press to go bonkers about flares thrown by fans from other countries as if it never happens here! Thanks for reminding us of the facts.

  • omgarsenal

    When modern stadiums have such efficient crowd control and identification programs available, as well as numerous options for preventing such objects (flares,fireworks, projectiles, etc.) from being smuggled in, surely the authorities can succeed in extinguishing (no pun intended) this type of behaviour. even If they fail to prevent the dangerous materials from entering the stadium, they must surely be able to identify specific fans using such tools and get them banned by the courts? Is this another case of Fa,Club and EUFA/FIFA incompetence?
    i am sure Arsenal have support in place to quash this once and for all…..why not use it?

  • Al

    The result of this is we’ll see more flare throwing in the PL this coming season again. I don’t know why the media refuse to call such deplorable behaviour out, when it happens here. They’re making the problem worse.

  • bushido

    OT – Arsenal former skipper, Mikel Arteta is set to be part of Pep G coaching staff at Manchester council stadium.

  • Gord


    If people have to move through an airlock system, one person at a time, they could inject clean air from the top and extract mixed air from the bottom. The object is to do one air change (and then when empty, waiting for the next person, do another air change). You could test for a whole slew of chemicals (vapours actually). If the person is “clean”, the exit from the airlock is to the stadium. If “dirty”, the exit is to further processing.

    I would imagine something based on mass spectrometry might be used, but there are quite a few technologies which could be useful.

  • Gord

    Oh, as a side effect, you might be able to tell people what their percent body fat is (two compartment model).

  • ARSENAL 13

    did Rambo say that?? (“good to finish above spurs again”)


    A team filled with spurs, always in our shadows

  • Mandy Dodd

    Liverpool just seem to be one of those teams the authorities…..and media smile upon these days.
    As for the Croatia fans,I certainly do not agree with their methods, or the use of dangerous pyrotechnics….if you believe some reports, in a deliberate attempt to get the team disqualified, but from what I have read,their football fans certainly have recourse to some form of protest at the way some run football in their country, and a lot of alleged corruption.

  • Pat

    Corruption eh, Mandy? In that case, maybe it’s time fans in this country tried some kind of protest against the corruption here. I’m thinking of the behaviour of PGMOL for a start. By the way, I wouldn’t suggest flares – something less dangerous.

  • Menace

    OT ? maybe not. I just saw footage of the game where Eduardo had his leg broken. Dean was the PGMO official who red carded Taylor. He was also the bastard who gave a penalty for a dive over a defenders leg. William Gallas was in tears because of his anger at the blatant cheat Dean. His passion for his team was teased by all & sundry but Gallas loved Arsenal. How Dean has survived so long as an official shows how corrupt the game is in England.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Wouldnt be the worst idea over here Pat.
    But yes,think things are pretty bad in the game in Croatia, if the threads below are correct, even our own Eduardo was royally done over:

  • norman14


    It’ll be interesting to see what likes/dislikes your post gets as I got FOUR dislikes for mine posting the same link.


    When the supporters have been protesting as long as they have in Croatia, you can understand their frustration, and willingness to do almost anything to get noticed.

    Once again, the major UK media have ignored this story, as they do anything to do with corruption, including FIFA, EUFA, FA, and PGMO