By Bulldog Drummond
The headline in the Daily Mail expresses the media’s attitude: “Time to ban Hungary thugs”. Their article opens,
“The Football Association vowed to launch an investigation and file a report to FIFA after racism from Hungary fans marred yet another World Cup qualifier with England and they were also involved in violent clashes with police.”
“The Metropolitan Police and FA’s security team were already on high alert after Hungary supporters targeted England fans with monkey chants and missiles in September’s Budapest meeting between the two countries.”
and later still
“While unarmed stewards were left helpless…”
and later again
“The FA said: ‘We are aware of an incident in the away section during tonight’s FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium. We will be investigating and report the incident to FIFA.'”
It’s quite a big article with lots and lots of pictures as you might expect, being the Mail, but one thing is missing. It might seem a little thing, because it can be expressed in a little word, but it always seems to be missing at times like this.
It is the question “why?”
As in, why was this allowed to happen again so soon after the total breakdown of law and order in parts of the stadium for the Euro final. Why were the same people left in charge of organising security after their appalling ineptitude at the last game? Why is the FA still running any football matches at all, after its gross incompetence was shown in the Euro final?
The fact is that every FA cock up reflects badly on football in England and because implications are always what the media love, and the implication is that all can be blamed on all football fans.
And because the media is in agreement with itself that under no circumstances must the FA be blamed for anything at all, they are never blamed for anything at all.
Of course it is obviously true that the immediate problem was caused either in whole or in part by Hungary fans, but it is also obvious that the FA is utterly incapable of seeing a problem roaring toward it in the middle of the road with nothing else around to distract it.
With the Euro final, the problem was perfectly clear for weeks before the event. Normally speaking there is no point in trying to break through the often flimsy security at Wembley to get in without a ticket because once inside there will be nowhere to sit, given that every seat is sold.
Thus anyone getting into the stadium without a ticket is instantly obvious, and can be challenged by security. All fine and simple; regular people with tickets are not inconvenienced, and we all get on with the game.
But the Euro final had a reduced capacity, everyone knew there would be thousands of spare seats, and everyone knew that the normal security at the gates was not that good. What’s more if you have ever been to Wembley for a major game you’ll know just how chaotic it can be in the area around the stadium. So it could all be seen in advance – but it wasn’t.
This time everyone knew about Hungarian fans – at least everyone except the FA.
The crowd to watch Hungary lose 1-0 to Albania at the Puskas Arena was 273. This was due to the behaviour of supporters at previous games. When Hungary played England last month the racism was evident. The Times said in its preview of the game last night, “There is expected to be an increased police presence at Wembley tonight to deal with the potential.”
Part of the reason for the chaos is due to the fact that Uefa and Fifa don’t co-operate on crowd issues – a ban on crowds from one organisation is not then picked up by the other. And the reason for that is … Uefa and Fifa are at loggerheads with each other over pretty much everything and so co-operate on virtually nothing. Not even keeping grounds safe.
Which is why the problem was delivered to the door of the FA – just about the most incompetent organisation in the world in terms of football.
Of course the FA will bleat that they couldn’t ban Hungary fans without the agreement of organising authority, but that is just how the chaos continues. Everyone quoting little rules instead of stopping abuse, stopping rioting, stopping fighting.
The FA will of course be let off any blame for last night, because that is what the media does. Never ever attack the FA no matter how grossly incompetent. And so it goes on.
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