Monday, 26 November 2012

Football and fascism

For the second time in a week, Tottenham fans have been subjected to anti-Semitic abuse as a result of the club being perceived to have a large support in the Jewish communtiy of North London.

Last Thursday in Rome, Spurs fans were attacked in a bar by men shouting "Jews!" and then racially abused by Lazio supporters in the Olympic Stadium. Yesterday at White Hart Lane, West Ham fans  chanted about Hitler and hissed in imitation of the poison gas the Nazis used to kill Jews in the Holocaust.

At the height of football hooliganism in the 1970's and 80's, British clubs including Chelsea and Leeds had a sizeable far-right following. At others, notably Manchester City and Newcastle, the fascists were driven off by a combination of the left and the local black community.

The conflict between Republicans and Loyalists in Northern Ireland means that fascist hooliganism in Britain is also linked to religious identity with clubs having a large Catholic support seen as left-wing and anti-fascist and Protestant ones such as Rangers in Glasgow providing foot soldiers for the BNP and National Front. Unlike in Britain. where Catholics are overwhelmingly of working-class Irish descent, in Spain and Italy the Church, football and fascism have long been linked with clubs such as Real Madrid, Espanyol, Lazio and Inter supported by fascist politicians and organised neo-Nazi groups on the terraces.


  1. It all makes you wonder where that stupid phrase "the beautiful game" came from.

    1. Brazil I believe Nev, where football became racially integrated in the early twentieth century and Socrates led his teammates at Corinthians in opposing the military dictatorship in the early 80's.