By Sara Amiri
By Sara Amiri
Morocco World News
Whitewater, Wisconsin, June 12, 2012
Morocco World News recently talked to Dr. Abderrahim Rharib who is a Professor of Economics at ENCG Casablanca and expert in Sports Governance. In this interview, Dr, Rharib shed light on the reasons behind the phenomenon of violence in sports events.
MWN: Can you put for us into perspective the phenomenon of violence in sport events?
AR: Violence at stadiums is an expression of the discontent of fans about the quality of the sports event, to arbitration, to a challenge with a sports player (athlete, leader, etc.), or to a provocation by the security forces. This dissatisfaction may be a reaction to unacceptable behavior on the part of fans from the opposing team.
MWN: What are the motives behind these despicable acts by football fans?
AR: Stadium violence can be explained by a number of failures:
– Lack of effective gate control (tickets, dangerous objects, corruption of the ticket collectors, fans under the influence of drugs or in a state of drunkenness);
– Lack of organization (incompetence of the organizers, stadium architecture that makes the organizer’s job more difficult, multiple sales of the same ticket);
– Dissatisfaction of fans with the quality of services (transportation, ticket sales, hospitality, sanitary facilities, the price of drinks and food inside the stadium);
– Decisions of arbitration that are unfounded;
– Attitudes of fans who do not accept rival fans and who lack sportsmanship;
– The abuse of some journalists when broadcasting certain information;
– Attitudes of young fans influenced by extremist groups who go to the stadium to provoke trouble instead of going to enjoy the sporting event;
– Lack of supervision of fans by their associations or by extremist groups;
– Spiral of violence between fans of two teams that hate each other.
MWN: Is this violence socially related? Are the harsh socioeconomic conditions that most Moroccans endure the catalyst for these clashes?
AR: Our research showed that the troublemakers are both the poor and the rich, highly educated students as well as the uneducated. There is no significant correlation between vandalism on the one hand and level of education, financial means and place of residence.
MWN: How can you explain the readiness of Moroccan youth to indulge in acts of vandalism, bullying, vulgar language and harassment wherever there is a large crowd? Why are not fans bound by fair play and tolerance towards their adversaries? Is this new insidious trend related to our educational systems as well as the family institutions?
AR: It is clear that violence is not the monopoly of the stadiums: it occurs in the streets, schools, and universities. And it is the result of the failures of the school system, the family and the neighborhood that no longer play their educational function as they did in the past. Under the effect of the supremacy of the mob, violence and vandalism are magnified, except at the level of the stadium. Certainly, hools (hooligans) who have no connection with sporting events influence fans to engage in acts of robbery and assault.
MWN: Is this violence a remote phenomenon and only brought about by a sparse amount of disobedient and delinquent spectators? Or is disobedience ingrained in our youth due to the feeling of inequity, nepotism and social oppression?
AR: In the beginning, it is a minority that starts the trouble, but under the effect of the crowd, several young followers join in these acts of “hooliganism”. It must be remembered that, because of the Arab Spring, the security forces often turned a blind eye to the excesses which prompted young people to abuse the expansion of their freedom. When the national security took a “whatever” approach, its reputation suffered in the eyes of teenagers. You cannot go so far as to say that the police were overtaken by events; however, it is clear that they must seriously prepare themselves for sporting events and anticipate danger.
MWN: Is fighting this aggression limited to a prolific reform of laws and punitive punishments of offenders? Is it only related to the security approach?
AR: This is really about a social phenomenon. This latest change is happening at a rapid pace without anyone making the academic effort necessary to understand it. In Morocco we need sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists who are interested in sports. They will certainly help to better approach the problem of violence and vandalism. The legislative approach, meanwhile, is failing because it is rushed and isolated. If the law is to bear fruit, it requires extensive consultations, and it must be applicable and impersonal. In Morocco, there was no broad consultation before the promulgation of Law 09/09. Some of its provisions, such as the collective verbal incitement to hatred, cannot be applied: we must remember that laws are more credible when they apply to all citizens equally. What is needed in Morocco is an approach that focuses on the development of the citizen to embrace the logic of creating value for himself and the community.
MWN: How can Morocco curb the detrimental effects of hooliganism?
AR: Any logic to fight against hooliganism must start with the recognition by each party of its share in the responsibility for the problem. It must begin with a deep scientific analysis of spectator sports and its players. Then you must have the involvement of everyone in this dynamic. There are two kinds of solutions: short-term technical solutions, such as seat numbering, the use of surveillance cameras, the use of secret police, police who specialize in sports stadium control, well-trained stadium staff, police who are capable of electronically infiltrating into the discussion forums of extremists and supporters’ associations in order to prevent trouble, and the need for minors to be accompanied; and long-term solutions, such as returning credibility to schools and the family, and properly directing teenagers’ extra energy towards the creation of sportsmanship, art and culture.
MWN: Taking into consideration the importance of sport in societies, the sporadic violence and destruction of public and private property creates a negative backlash and popular indignation over Moroccan spectators in general. This perpetuates the situation and undermines our trust on sport as a means of entertainment and education. In this respect, what is the recipe to solve the realm of sport in Morocco?
AR: My recipe is directed towards investing in the creative resource of humanity. Also, every citizen must feel respected in order to respect others. Respect cannot be only one-sided. Maybe these supporters of violence were themselves victims of other forms of violence and abuse: at their schools, at a public hospital, a district. Abuse produces abuse.
MWN: How do you perceive the future of hooliganism in Morocco? Is it here to stay regardless of long term and short term remedies or is the eradication of this issue attainable?
AR: Morocco is able to eradicate this scourge provided that the effort to engage is systematic, and provided that the lessons of previous years are learned.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Sara Amiri graduated with a Bachelor degree in Finance & Business Law and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is currently pursuing an MBA in Finance and IT Management. Sara is also Business Analyst at Blackthorne Capital Management LLC in Wisconsin and does Marketing and Business Development Consulting for start-ups and small businesses.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved.