Sport and Violence

Authored by: Ramón Spaaij

Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Sport

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415829731
eBook ISBN: 9780203404065
Adobe ISBN: 9781134116621


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Excessive violence has long been considered ‘one of the major threats to the long-term future of sport as we know it’ (Case and Boucher 1981: 9). Recent instances of sports violence suggest that this ‘threat’ has not waned. In the past few years, lethal violence has been reported in professional and amateur sports in different global regions. In September 2013, a baseball fan was stabbed to death at a Major League Baseball match between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers, sparked by an argument over the teams’ rivalry (Ortiz 2013). A month later, in a particularly gruesome act of violence, an amateur football (soccer) game in Brazil turned into a double murder scene when a 19-year-old referee was decapitated by spectators after he had stabbed a player to death (Longman 2013). And in February 2012, in one of deadliest episodes of sports-related violence in modern history, 74 people were killed and hundreds injured when spectators invaded the playing field after a football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly in the Egyptian city of Port Said. Most of the deaths were caused by concussions, stab wounds and suffocation from the stampede.

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