Number of official reports for football violence rises sharply in second half of 2021
The number of official reports drawn up following violence in Belgian football reached 640 in the second half of 2021. This is half as much as during the second half of 2019, the last regular season before the COVID-19 pandemic broke loose, newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen reported on Thursday.
Moreover, the Football Unit of the Federal Public Service for Home Affairs already received 512 official reports in the first four months of 2022, a figure which is expected to increase even further.
However, this increase does not necessarily mean that there were many more incidents. In 2021, for instance, there were a number of group incidents for which a large number of official reports were drawn up. During the disturbances between Antwerp FC and Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, for example, 140 official reports were drawn up for a single incident.
Last October, football violence especially made headlines when a Belgian Manchester City fan was left in critical condition at a motorway car park, after the 63-year-old man was allegedly attacked by a group of Club Brugge supporters. Several other incidents marked a violent couple of weeks for football that month: a fight broke out amongst Zulte-Waregem fans, OHL goalkeeper Rafael Romo suffered hearing loss after a man threw a firecracker on the pitch, and Standard fans stormed the pitch after a disappointing performance by their team.
© BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ