Just yesterday, cricket fans across the world were left with a sour taste in their mouth after a bunch of Sri Lankan supporters wreaked havoc by throwing water bottles on the ground. The match had to be stopped, and the Sri Lankan fielders standing on the boundary had to run to the center of the field to protect themselves from being hit.
This is not the first time such hooliganism has ruined matches, and it’s something that has been around for a while. Yes, we understand that supporters pay a considerable amount of money and invest a lot of emotional energy just to feel the joy of watching their team win. So when the events turn sour, it leaves them with a bitter taste in the mouth and a little bit of anger is justified. But resorting to violence to take one’s frustration out is definitely not.
In the 1996 World Cup semi-final between India and Sri Lanka, some fans started burning down the stadium after India were reeling at 120 for 8 while chasing a target of 252. It was a shameful situation for Eden Gardens, which is otherwise one of the best stadiums in India with extremely passionate supporters.
A little bit of booing and sledging to demoralize the other team is fine – what is home advantage good for otherwise? But to have hundreds of people gang up to create havoc is something that we have no empathy for.
Something similar happened in Cuttack, when India faced South Africa in a T20I. “We didn’t play well so at times, you get reactions like these. It’s only the first bottle, and after that they start throwing it for fun. In Vizag, we won the game very easily and that time also, a lot of bottles were thrown,” MS Dhoni had said in the press conference after the match. That was pretty nice from him. If we were at his place, we would have asked for a one-year ban of cricket matches from the concerned stadium so that the crowd collectively feels the pinch. The people who are working for the stadium can be separately compensated by the BCCI.
It’s not like these were the most important games in the world either (perhaps the 96 semi-final was), and if there is no hooliganism in a FIFA World Cup final or Champions League final, or even a Manchester derby, where fans are way more emotionally invested in their team’s victory, why does such stuff happen anymore?