Football is notorious for hooliganism and full on violence when home and away fans clash. Some clubs are more guilty of this than others, mostly thanks to their ‘ultra’ fans.
Groups of hardcore fans that light flares, organise huge banners and, in many cases, attack opposing fans. From fist fights to stabbings to thousands of fans doing battle on the pitch, here’s a list of the most violent fans in world football.
1.10: AS Roma
Rome has always been somewhat of a fortress of a city but some fans take this a bit too literally. When Liverpool visited the Stadio Olimpico for a UEFA Cup match in 2001 the Roma ultras ambushed the away fans and beat up a television crew. They also went on to stab six people in the backside, a strange tradition among the Roma hardcore. Manchester United and Middlesbrough were subject to the same treatment in 2006 and 2007. Image Source: Twitter
2.9: Sparta Prague
Sparta Prague have a history violent clashes, especially when playing city rivals SK Slavia Prague. Their violent behaviour is not only reserved for rivals though. In 2006 the Prague ultras attacked Hearts chairman George Foulkes. He was knocked to the ground and kicked in the head before being saved by a fellow Hearts fan. Image Source: Twitter
3.8: FC Barcelona
Barcelona are usually associated with trophies and the success of Lionel Messi but they do have a history of hardcore fan violence. During the 1980s a fan group called Boixos Nois (translates as ‘The Crazy Boys’) emerged, a far-right Catalan separatist group. With a tendency to brandish swastikas they were landed in trouble in 1991 when one member stabbed an Espanyol fan to death. They were banned from attending the Camp Nou in 2003 which resulted in club president Joan Laporta having death threats painted on his door. Image Source Twitter
Millwall is said to have bred football hooliganism in the 1960’s and is notorious for its fan violence among rival clubs. With everything from bottles to even hand grenades thrown during matches Millwall fans are among the most violent in England. After a play-off semi-final loss to Birmingham City in 2002 fans took out their anger on other fans and even police. A total of 47 police officers and 24 police horses were injured. Image Source: Twitter
5.6: Partizan Belgrade
Belgrade is home to one of Europe’s fiercest rivalries between Partizan and Red Star Belgrade. Violence is not reserved for the ‘Eternal Derby’ though and fans will happily fight anyone who opposes them, they even started fighting each other in a match in 2013. Their extreme right views and homophobic chants make them one of the most feared groups in European football. The worst incident of fan violence ended with a Toulouse fan losing his life in 2009 during a meeting between the two sides. Image Source: Twitter
6.5: Red Star Belgrade
Much like their Partizan rivals, Red Star Belgrade have a history of violence. Their ultras ‘The Delije’ have been associated with Serb nationalism since the 1980s. In 1990 a 3000-strong cohort of Delije took on Dinamo Zagreb fans in a pitch battle between Serbs and Croats. Many members of the Delije formed the foundation of the Serb volunteer guard under ex-paramilitary leader Željiko Ražnatović. He was later indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity. Image Source:Twitter
Galatasaray are well-known for their rowdy and violent displays at their games and currently hold the Guinness World Record for the loudest fans in the world. The night before a UEFA Cup semi-final in 2000 a Turkish gang known as ‘The Night Watchmen’ inflicted violence on Leeds United fans with two being stabbed to death. Violence also broke out in Turkey in 2013 when a derby match between Galatasaray and Besiktas had to be abandoned after a Felipe Melo red card brought fans rushing onto the pitch and clashing with security. Image Source: Twitter
8.3: Universitario de Deportes
Fan violence is also rife in South America with the radical ultras of Peruvian side Universitario de Deportes being some of the most feared on the continent. In the past they have set alight cars and buses of opposing fans and even fired guns. One of their most violent displays, however, came when they threw a 23-year-old rival fan of Allianza Lima over the edge of a stand, he later died in hospital from head injuries. Image Source: depor.com
9.2: Wisla Krakow
Wisla Krakow’s historic rivalry with KS Cracovia is known as the ‘Holy War’ and has claimed the lives of many fans through the years. In 1990 the Polish police faced the force of fans when they were unnecessarily harsh while breaking up a fight between fans of Wisla and Cracovia. Both sets of fans then waged war against the police and ravaged the Soviet embassy where many police officers had sought refuge. This violence has not settled in recent years as eight fans lost their lives due to football violence between 2004-2006. Image Source: Pinterest
The ultras of Egyptian Premier League side Al-Masry are some of the most feared in Modern Football. After a 3-1 win over their rivals Al Ahly in 2012 a riot broke out in the stadium leaving 79 dead and over 1000 injured. Home fans stormed the pitch attacking away fans with bottles, knives, clubs, stones and fireworks. Al Ahly players ran away and their coach was punched and kicked by attackers. This attack was orchestrated as a banner was raised reading “We’re going to kill you all”. All remaining matches of the 2011-12 Egyptian Premier League season were cancelled after one of the most violent episodes in football history. Image Source: New China
Fans such as these give football a bad name but for them it’s less of a weekend activity and more of a way of life. Football is their religion and they are willing to do battle with rival fans all in the name of the ‘beautiful’ game.