Wednesday, December 24, 2008


ASEAN hooliganism

No one could have expected that serious crowd trouble would break out in Singapore but this is what can happen when you have away fans celebrating a famous win.

This was the first game which saw a large, vociferous following for the visiting team but the great majority of them were living locally. Students, expats.

It doesn't matter who started what. It takes two to dance. Vietnamese are a proud people and would not have been pleased to hear their national anthem being booed but that is something they must get used to if they are going to travel away.

At the same time Singaporean fans would not have enoyed seeing their proud unbeaten run come to an end in a home game against a Vietnamese side who enjoyed the odd roll in the grass. Seeing the away fans celebrate would only have inflamed passions further.

Not condoning it, just saying how it is. Football at its best is a passionate affair, just ask yourself what makes Noh Alam Shah so appreciated by the home support.

Other games are likely to be considered high risk. Malaysia v Indonesia could be one as could Singapore v Indonesia when you consider the large numbers of migrant workers and students in KL and Singapore. Likewise Myanmar in those cities?

Can anything be done to stop further outbreaks? The thing is with the absence of organised supporters clubs travelling to away games it's difficult to see what can be done. How do you stop thousands of people buying tickets when they live in the same city?

No doubt the footballing authorities will pass this little matter on to the security officials. But it will need collective action to nip it in the bud from all parties or things will get worse before they get better.

There's no doubt the Vietnamese fans added to the atmosphere on Sunday night. Several thousand of them sang and danced the whole game and it would be a shame to have that missing in future games.

Potential high risk games need to be identified early on and preparations need to be made accordingly to minimise trouble and to protect the vast majority of fans.

Alternatively play every game in Indonesia. No wannabe thug will try it on there! Not even Singapore's You Tube heroes!

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