OPINION: Real fans don’t act like hooligans; SEA must take stand against violence in football

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2014 Suzuki Cup

The violence which rocked Shah Alam Stadium in the aftermath of the football match between and during Sunday’s 2014 first semi-final leg is regrettable and should spur authorities to make sure it does not take place again.

Some fans, believed to be a mixture of hooligans and others, embarrassed and particularly Malaysia with antics that have nothing to do with football success and everything to do with brutal hooliganism.

Reports indicate that a number of fans engaged in activities that included attacking Vietnamese fans and emergency responders. It was unclear how the fight started, but many pictures of the ruckus were uploaded to social media, including one of a fan whose head was bleeding.

The incident happened shortly after the final whistle as Malaysia lost 2-1 to Vietnam. The home fans were angered by their team’s loss, and this was exacerbated by the fact that some who failed to get a seat were forced to stand among the Vietnamese supporters.

How this section of fans think thought their actions were somehow a show of support for their football team is beyond us. But in reality, most of these people know these types of antics have nothing to do with the game and everything to do with the individuals who are partaking in them.

These violent displays went viral on media, and as a result many peoples across the region have condemned the the brutal actions of unsportsmanlike football fans.

A Vietnamese named Nguyen Quang commented on a Vietnamese Facebook fan page with a strong message, “International matches should always have professionalism, the character of the players, respect for rivals, and the need for fair play! Violence in football is strongly prohibited. The aim of the AFF Suzuki Cup is to bring all the ASEAN nations closer…”

Even several Malaysian condemned these acts, such as Vishyalendra Owen who posted his critique through the Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) social page: “Shame on Malaysia Football…sore losers after losing the game behave like animals ..what a shame. If you can’t accept losing, why participate and make the lives of others miserable?”

Fans from neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar also left comments expressing disappointment in the conduct of the Malaysian hooligans.

“Stay strong Vietnamese fans; we all are standing beside you,” wrote Burmese fan Aung Pyae Sone Htut. “Hope your NT team will bring trophy for the fans being attacked.”

Thai fan Nerapran Nakub agreed: “I only wish for all of the Vietnamese friends out there to be safe, I’m sure [the Malaysian fans] will have a proper punishment.”

They were joined by Filipino fan Leo Bautista, who wrote, “No need to hurl insult to one another. JUST SUPPORT YOUR TEAM AND ENJOY THE GAME!

“Violence and discrimination are unacceptable in sports,” added Indonesian supporter Sugiarto Wijaya. “We need to understand that at the end of the day, it’s just a sport. unfortunately, some people do forget that.”

It’s clear that Southeast Asians have had enough, and must take a stand against hooliganism. Like many in the world, we’re shocked by Sunday night’s moments. But we’re sure that the public outcry will lead to positive change.