Eradicating hooligans

It used to be standard procedure: Sports-related violence, like the death of a 28-year-old Bulgarian man following clashes between rival soccer club fans in Thessaloniki in northern Greece on Sunday, would almost automatically prompt the government of the time to announce a new package of measures aimed at eradicating hooliganism.

This time, there was not even that. The tragic incident in Thessaloniki (in which the 28-year-old was hit by a motorist after running into the road to escape a group of hooligans) was treated with condescension.

The truth of the matter is that there is no need for new measures to really purge Greek sports of thuggish behavior. What is needed, rather, is genuine political will. If it really wants to do away with gangs of hooligans, the country’s political class will need to ignore the political cost that radical action entails.

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