Russia manager Fabio Capello has stated this week that he does not think Russia’s Euro 2016 Qualifier with Montenegro should have even been restarted after the game was stopped for 35 minutes when Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev was hit in the head by a flare. The game was eventually stopped in the 66th minute following more fan unrest after the 2nd half was also delayed in kicking off.
The FA President Greg Dyke recently expressed his fears over Europe returning to “the dark ages” of hooliganism like that of the 1980s straight up into the last 1990s. It seems the past 12 months would have warranted a case for such fears. Two Euro Qualifiers have now had to have their matches called off and rescheduled due to crowd trouble (the Montenegro-Russia match and the Albania-Serbia match from late in the year last year) on top of the now infamous Paris train incident involving some Chelsea fans who were subsequently banned for life from Stamford Bridge and incident in Rome ahead of their Champions League tie with Fenerbahce, whose fans rioted in the streets causing tons of damage.
In fact, football has not done well for itself this season, something that wasn’t really heard of just 1 year ago in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Whether the climate changes for the better has yet to be seen, but certainly the fan, media, and club pressure to do so will help in preventing football from returning to the days of the rioting and hooliganism. One thing is for certain, if left unchecked it would appear the game would gravitate towards that dark end.