Sunday, January 30, 2011


A Tale Of Two Reactions

A small disturbance at the end of yesterday's game between Persija and Persijap was instructive. Earlier in the game there had been a loud speaker announcement telling fans not to celebrate goals with flares after play head been momentarily held up following Persija taking the lead.

Tensions obviously got a bit high in the end behind one goal and at the end of the game there was something going on at the back of the enclosure. The police were straight in there, segregating, breaking up the crowd. Moments later another surge and they responded with some baton swings.

The point is a potential flash point was spotted and quick reactions by the police prevented it getting out of hand.

Now compare this with last week at the Persib v Arema game. A few lads climbing on the fence requires some stern words but little else. They didn't even get that. Security just waved their arms a bit while backing off.

Emboldened some lads behind started chucking things on to the pitch. The play was held up and we all thought that the police would have this minor incident under control in minutes. They didn't. More fans started chucking things onto the pitch and sporadic outbreaks of disorder spread to behind the goal where fires were lit on the terraces and a few youths climbed over the fence and on to the pitch, throwing rocks at the retreating security services.

There is a science to crowd control and while I don't know what it is I do know after over 30 years watching football that a firm and speedy reaction can prevent tiny incidents from getting put of hand.

Check out this picture. How many police do you see and which way are they facing?

One person said yesterday's reaction was over the top. Maybe. Maybe the ideal would be something just as firm but less violent.

Golly, I can't believe I'm writing good things about policing at football matches.

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