While the first Battle of Marseille was fought between the Germans and the Americans, the most recent one was a scrap between the English and the Russians; and while the last was fought over the fate of the free world, this one was over a game of football, or was it?
By now a quick Google search will tell you the story of what had happened on that day. As the match between England and Russia ended with a draw, violence erupted as the Russian fans descended on their English counterparts and that was just the beginning. When the smoke cleared, dozens of people were left injured, while social media was filled with pictures and videos of the violence that had unfolded; heads getting kicked in, group of hooligans caught up in brawls, teargas fired and riot police scrambled into action, and those were just a reminder of how fast things can get out of hand.
It’s no secret that when it comes to football violence, the English have a bit of a reputation on hooliganism. As football teams battle it out on the pitch, another sort of teams take their battles off the pitch. These gangs, or firms as they are often called, orchestrate violence often trying to one-up each other for bragging rights on the streets and they do so away from the watchful eye of Old Bill (law enforcement).
Even so, it seems like the Russian hooligans, or ultras as they are now called, take it to a whole new level. Where the English firms are made up of mostly blue-collar workers who enjoy a pint and some fish and chips just as any other Brit would, the Russian Ultras are specifically trained to fight. In a report by Daily Mail Online, they uncovered footage of Russian thugs ‘auditioning’ for Euro 2016. Well trained, some of them have described as hooligans who were “well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action.”
As of the writing of this article, team Russia has been given suspended disqualification and a fine of 150,000 euros (RM693,000), while on the English side, Roy Hodgson and Wayne Rooney offered this gem. With the new ‘Battle of Marseille’ shedding light on football violence in Russia, one can only wonder what these thugs will get up to when they are on home ground for the FIFA World Cup in 2018.