Football is one of the very sports in the world. We probably have already watched football matches on television or in the stadium itself. In Indonesia itself, football always in people’s hearts, and it can be indicated by how Indonesian people support their national team in many events. However, Indonesian people itself have a bad habit when it comes to football, and it was called football hooliganism.

Hooliganism itself doesn’t come from Indonesia, but it is from Europe, a continent where football can be everything. Every year, we always saw the news about Indonesian football supporters in some provinces vandalize their supported team’s stadium or the opponent team’s stadium. Hooliganism became like a subscribed problem in every league season of Indonesian football events. So, in this article, we will talk about hooliganism in football.

What is hooliganism?

Football hooliganism generally refers to bad habits, behaviors, and attitudes of overreacted football supporters. As examples, it is leading supporters to do vandalism, intimidations, and more. These caused by hot rivalries between two teams and their supporters, then leading into conflicts before or after the match. The hooligans (supporters that involved in vandalism and more) often do their actions away from the stadium to avoid getting arrested by officials such as the police department. 

Hooliganism in football can start just by a small yelling and fighting. After that, it turns into something big, such as a riot. Two different sides of supporters will attack each other with dangerous items on their hands, such as knives, glass bottles, rocks, and even firearms. Because of this act, some supporters who don’t want to get involved are in panic, then they get away but with injuries. The most extreme case would involve many people to death, and the casualties can be from the supporters, players, officials, and police.

There is also a hooliganism act that happens right a few seconds after the match ended. This act always happens in the Indonesia football league, just the same as the news we always hear on the internet and television. We often see the picture of hooligans vandalize the stadium, attack the stadium officials and players. Usually, the police department will come immediately, bringing anti-riot forces, and they are well-equip. To stop a riot, the anti-riot force equipment themselves with tear gas grenades, armored vehicles, and water cannons. 

The history of hooliganism

The first example of violent act in football itself is still a mystery. However, this phenomenon act record exists since the middle ages, which is in the 14th century. As the exact year, it is 1314 AD in England. In that year, King Edward the Second forbids his people to play football. It is because the game leads into a riot, violence, and vandalism between two different villages right after the game ended.

The first hooliganism case recorded around the 1880s in England too. In those years, a gang of supporters will come and intimidate nearby neighborhoods, then they assault the referee and players. In 1885, after Preston North End won against the Aston Villa with 5-0 scores in a friendly match, both teams got stoned by rocks, attacked by sticks, beaten, kicked, and spit on by the supporters. A Preston North End player got beaten quite severely by the mass and lost his consciousness. The press reports refer to them as “howling roughs.” In the next year, Preston North End supporters involved in hooliganism against supporters of Queens Park in a train station. This case became the first example of hooliganism outside the match. In 1905, some of the Preston North End supporters had trial in the court because of acts of hooliganism after a match against Blackburn Rovers, including a drunken 70 years old woman.

The England’s worst case of hooliganism

If we talk about the worst and most awful hooliganism case of England, it will be about the Heysel Tragedy case in Heysel Stadium, Brussels, Belgium. This case happened on May 28, 1985.  On that day, there is a match between Liverpool and Juventus in the final of the European Cup (now it is called as UEFA Champions League). This case also became England’s football darkest history in that year. It is because most England football clubs are in the golden time, then turn into something awful because of one club. This case made all England football clubs can’t play in any international football events for five years long, and Liverpool itself got banned for 10 years. It is because the problem itself came from Liverpool’s supporters. However, the ban was cut from 10 years into 6 years. 

This tragedy started by both teams supporters mock and humiliate each other. And then, after an hour before the kick-off, a hooligan group of Liverpool supporters broke through the entry barrier of Juventus area. At first, the Juventus supporters try to get away, but a riot happened. For the result, the parapet in that area collapsed, 39 supporters died, and 600 injured. Even though there are many casualties, the committee decided to keep the game start.

After the incident, the England police department did further investigation. From a 17 minutes film and many photos, also an hour full video of Heysel Tragedy and other publications, only 27 supporters were arrested and charged for violence and murder. However, only 14 of those arrested supporters were sentenced to prison.


As a summary, football hooliganism is led by the football supporters and cause mass violence and vandalism, such as a riot. These acts can happen inside or outside the stadium. The history of the first hooliganism in football is still a mystery. However, the football violence act was traced since the 14th century. It was the time when King Edward the Second, banned football because the game caused a riot between two villages. Nowadays, hooliganism acts still exist both in Europe and Indonesia. Unlike England, Indonesian hooligan supporters barely can be anticipated. Because of that, there are many numbers of damage and loss over facilities. In extreme cases, life casualties also happen.