Football World Cup and Football Wars

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Every four years including 2010 the two biggest sporting championships: Olympics and Soccer World Cup coincide. This is a very important year for sports fans around the globe; however, the World Cup history goes hand in hand with ugly incidents between fans and players, to say the least.

Since the very first Football World Cup championship in 1930, there were numerous reports of violent situations from spontaneous and low level disorders during the match to organized gang fights between football clubs, sometimes a long way before a match.

The most famous incident known as the "Football War" or "Soccer War" occurred in 1969. It was caused by political tension between Hondurans and Salvadorans and exploded during the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

After the teams have won one game each, both nations exploited existing conflicts, reporting beatings, car burning and attacks in their countries by the soccer fans of the other team. Later on, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras, which was resolved a week later after the Organization of American States interfered.

Whenever a large group of people, often under the influence of alcohol, gets together, there is always a potential for disorder, regardless of whether there is a football match taking place or not. All kinds of legal means and policing tactics have been tried to control hooliganism; during the perceived height of football violence in the 1970s and 80s, governments implemented a series of aggressive policies that contained little evidence of an understanding of the problem.

Many served only to worsen the situation, create an increasingly confrontational attitude between fans and police, and merely drive the violence away from the immediate environment of the football ground.

The issue of the media's coverage of football hooliganism is very important as it is the media that helped construct the public understanding and view of the phenomenon. Most of the articles and reports on the upcoming 2010 World Cup championship are focused on South Africa's high rate of violent crime.

The main argument is a murder of a South African politician Jimmy Mohala that seems to be World Cup-related. However, disorders can be reduced by appropriate methods of policing; it is possible to police a crowd of drunken football supporters in a way that prevents serious situations, as was demonstrated at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and will hopefully drum into this year football World Cup in South Africa. With 32 teams, 64 games and nearly 2 million World cup tickets sold already, it is promising to be as enormous as ever.

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