The UEFA Champions League is a special time when European soccer fans young and old get to travel to new and unfamiliar places, engage in cultural exchange with other fans from across the continent, get drunk, and beat the shit out of each other. It’s a rite of passage for a very specific type of asshole.
Assholery ran rampant in the beautiful city of Manchester this week when a brawl between an estimated 20-25 people broke out before Manchester City’s match against Sevilla. Unconfirmed reports state that all hell broke loose in the city square when, during the scheduled Sevilla supporter paella cook-off, a Manchester City fan said she had a shellfish allergy and accused Sevilla fans of trying to poison her. Sevilla fans took offense and all the aluminum chairs in the greater Manchester area went airborne.
Note the subtle differences in the flight parabolas of the chairs thrown by these assholes and the trash bags thrown by some other assholes before this summer’s New York derby. Jurgen Klinsmann was right, training in Europe really does foster a different level of talent.
Obviously, the paella story isn’t true, but astoundingly, the actual cause of yesterday’s brawl is somehow even dumber than the one I just made up. According to the Daily Mail, the fight didn’t even involve Manchester City fans, but was between Sevilla fans and supporters of Polish club Slask Wroclaw over a feud that dates back to the clubs’ meeting in the 2013 Europa League. Two years ago, Slask Wroclaw fans allege that they were attacked by knife-carrying Sevilla assholes, who stole their scarves, banners, and flares, and sent a few of their group to the hospital.
What Champions League fan experience could possibly be stupider than these assholes traveling from Poland to England to settle a two-year-old European Mediocrity Cup beef with a Spanish club? Well, let’s head west and see what sort of fun family festivities Dynamo Kiev supporters planned.
Oh. That community-building event doesn’t appear to have gone as planned. Then again, given Dynamo Kiev fans’ history, maybe this brawl is exactly the sort of “Welcome to Ukraine” party they wanted to throw.
According to The Guardian, four black men, who attended Tuesday’s game between Chelsea and hosts Dynamo Kiev, sat in a section next to a group of Dynamo ultras. They were attacked once spotted. To make racist asshole matters worse, the victims of the attack were, themselves, Dynamo Kiev fans. It appears that love for the same club colors isn’t enough to set aside differences in skin colors for 90 minutes. Go figure, assholes have flimsy standards for soccer brotherhood.
Footage of the attack was passed to Fare, a network that fights racism in European soccer, and they passed it on to UEFA for investigation. On a positive note, Fare reports that eyewitnesses say a number of Dynamo fans rushed to protect the black men and help them get out of the stadium safely.
It was a strong week for assholes attending European competition. Obviously, it’s hard to decide which of these incidents is more frustrating. Stabbing people you’ve never met over a Europa Cup game, only to have asshole karma come back and make you the victim of a surprise attack by another group of assholes in the wrong country is pretty special. But being so intolerant that you can’t even use soccer—the filter through which you justify your asshole tendencies—as a reason to say, “Sure, they’re black, and for some strange reason I find that to be problematic, but today we’re all blue,” is performance art-level stupidity.
But don’t let my thoughts get in your way, dear reader. Why don’t you decide?