Tackling Serbia’s hooligans

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  1. "But showing strength in the face of hooligans is something politicians in Serbia have struggled to do. Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has spoken candidly about the blurred lines between the words of politicians and their actions: “It turns out we’re surprised now that there are mafia and criminal groups, while for years and decades everyone’s been courting these groups. Even my party led a policy of sometimes wooing nationalism and chauvinism when they needed votes because it was fashionable and popular.”

    A good analysis, but comparing the UK with Serbia is misleading. This sentence above shows exactly the problem of Serbia: The connection between these hooligans and politicians. If ministers can be found celebrating a new year party with well know hooligans, it's not surprising that these subjects feel free to do whatever they like and enjoy protection.

    The same goes for politicians giving in to threats of violence and banning the pride parade for 'security reasons'. It only encourages these rioters.

    Furthermore, it's a problem of the Serbian society in general to admire their 'heroes' which are war criminals and ordinary hooligans and not 'good Serbs, defenders, nationalists'
    (Comm. Parrisson, 23 December 2013 12:07)

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  2. @ Andy, I think a Balkan League with a West anf East Conference or a North and South Conference a bit like the MLS in North America would pump some energy and life into the standard of football in the region. I agree that policing it would be a big deal.
    (Ian, UK, 8 December 2013 13:34)

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  3. A very good comparative analysis
    (dobroznajdauvektusamja, 8 December 2013 13:05)

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  4. It's a fine line. If the authorities get really tough on fans, they run the risk of destroying Serb football. Crowds are low enough as it is, but if you ban those perceived as causing trouble, there will hardly be anyone left.

    The clubs know this, which is why the Ultras get away with using flares etc. and have such a big say in how the club is run. In Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb are trying such measures and are effectively at war with the fans. Their small crowds have got even less.

    Interesting stats and observations on the Premier League. Whole sections of "big" premier league teams are now filled with tourists. He's spot on where he says that the alienated youth argument is a load of rubbish. I've followed Watford for 25 years (not a club particularly associated with hooligans) but I know quite a few and they are a real cross esction of society. My mates who have been arrested certainly have decent jobs.

    Ultimately, Serbia needs to make games safer without losing character and passion, which is fantastic in the Balkans. There's also the problem of rampant corruption which is, if anything, more damaging. In my opinion, the only real sustainable future is the resurrection of the Yugoslav league, with Serbia joining with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia joining to form a competitive league that would attract decent crowds. Policing that would be whole different question though.
    (Andy UK, 6 December 2013 14:38)

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