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Desire to protect fans lead to football hooliganism

ANI  |  Washington D.C., [USA] 

The desire to protect and defend other fans is one of the main reasons behind the consistency of

The has confirmed it in a recent study.

Previous research has linked sports-related to 'social maladjustment'.

The study which tracked 465 fans and other hooligans, found that members of super-fan groups are not particularly dysfunctional outside of and that football-related is more of an isolated behaviour.

Martha Newson, a said, "Our study shows that is not a random behaviour. Members of hooligan groups are not necessarily dysfunctional people outside of the community; violent behaviour is almost entirely focused on those regarded as a threat- usually rival fans or sometimes the police."

"Being in a super fan group of people who care passionately about football instantly ups the ante and is a factor in football Not only because these fans tend to be more committed to their group, but because they tend to experience the most threatening environments," she added.

Martha further said that although the study focused on a group of fans, the findings could help in understanding the fan and non-sporting groups including religious and political extremists.

She pointed out that the psychology underlying the fighting groups among fans are likely a key part of human evolution, due to which it is essential for the groups to succeed against each other for resources like food, territory, and mates.

Although the research does not suggest that either reducing membership to extreme football super groups will necessarily prevent or stop football-related violence, the authors believe that there is potential for clubs to tap into super-fans' commitment in ways that could have positive effects.

The findings reinforce the research team's previous work to understand the role of identity fusion in extreme behaviour.

They also suggest that fighting extreme behaviour with extreme policing, such as the use of tear gas or military force, is likely counterproductive and will only trigger more violence, driving the most committed fans to step up and 'defend' their fellow fans.

Another pointed out that fusion driven behaviours need to be identified as comes from a positive desire to 'protect' the group and understanding it might help to tap into this social bonding and use it for good.

The study appears in Evolution and journal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 23 2018. 16:05 IST