Wherever team sports are played, violence among the spectators is increasing, resulting in extensive damage to property and in injuries and death not only to those involved but often also to innocent persons. The aggressiveness of some fans is often exacerbated by alcohol.
Violence associated with team sports is not new, and is even reflected in the vocabulary of many games. Football (American: soccer) has earned a reputation as the most violent game. In the 1960s a riot in Lima took 318 lives; in 1969 a football match between El Salvador and Honduras was blamed for sparking a brief but genuine war. In May 1985, 53 fans were killed in a fire which destroyed stands in a stadium in northern England; at least 10 police officers and foreigners were injured in Beijing when Chinese fans rioted after losing an international game; and in Brussels 39 people were killed and at least 400 injured in a riot which broke out even before a match between Liverpool and Turin had begun. The next month 8 people were killed and 50 injured when fans stampeded into a stadium in Mexico City. Some officials have linked European soccer hooligans to neo-fascist movements. In 1992, UK police discovered connections between several hundred active hooligans and groups such as the National Front or the British National Party.
People fight at sporting events because they like to fight. Soccer is used as a vehicle because the spectators can justify the violence as the defence of their team, their town, or their reputation. The spectator role is then an extension of that of their team, namely to beat the opposition.