Cover: Violent and Antisocial Behaviour at Football Events

Violent and Antisocial Behaviour at Football Events

Review of interventions

Published Jul 23, 2018

by Jirka Taylor, Sara-Laure Faraji, Sashka Dimova, Alex Sutherland, Lucy Strang

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(ملخص) السلوكيات العنيفة والمعادية للمجتمع في أحداث كرة القدم: عرض التدابير

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Research Questions

  1. What approaches have been taken to prevent and respond to antisocial and violent behaviours among populations watching and attending major sporting events, in particular international football matches?
  2. To what extent have these approaches proved effective, insofar as those planning major international football tournaments can draw on a body of good practice?

Disorder and violence at football matches are well-recognised issues that have attracted considerable attention in the media as well as among policymakers and practitioners. In an effort to prevent and respond to the phenomenon, numerous strategies and interventions have been implemented by relevant stakeholder groups, including police and other security professionals, football clubs and associations, fan organisations and local and national governments. However, despite the wide range of tools available, there are gaps in the understanding of the current state of practice and its effectiveness.

RAND Europe was commissioned by Qatar University to provide a series of reports looking into the issues of violence and antisocial behaviour at major sporting events. This second report responded to the gaps in our current understanding through a focused, structured literature search and aimed to provide a critical assessment of previous research into these issues. The review observed a multitude of strategies that can be and have been implemented to counter antisocial behaviour at football matches. They can broadly be grouped into four categories: 1) organisation of the venue (e.g. equipping stadiums with cameras, seating-only arrangements), 2) organisation of the events (e.g. arranging transport for away fans; setting up early kick-off times); 3) approaches to policing (e.g. dialogue-based policing, police liaison teams); and 4) laws, policies and partnerships (e.g. higher penalties for hooliganism, cooperation with fan associations).

With respect to the effectiveness of these interventions, the review found that the existing evidence base (at least as captured by the parameters of the review) is underdeveloped. The review found evidence pertaining only to a subset of interventions. Of the studies offering an effectiveness assessment, the majority faced notable methodological limitations.

Key Findings

  • There is positive evidence for the effectiveness of utilising security cameras and mandatory transport arrangements for visiting fans, early kick-off times and policing approaches aimed at establishing dialogue and lines of communication with fans in reducing disorder.
  • Interventions that do not appear to be effective include fan registration schemes as a precondition for a ticket purchase and alcohol bans within stadiums, city-wide alcohol bans and bans on alcohol consumption while in transit to the stadium.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for Qatar University and conducted by RAND Europe.

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