Sports events are at times considered a source of relaxation to allow sports people to get away from everyday pressures and obligations, and for spectators to be able to express their emotions freely. The practice of sport means accepting certain conventions, like respecting your opponent, the referee, the rules of the game…
The French Football Federation (FFF) has a tool for assessing violence generated in amateur football and 5-a-side football: this being the behaviour observatory.
The behaviour observatory
This is a computer application created in 2005 with the objective of improving knowledge of violence generated by the practice of football. When each match finishes, a report is presented to the relevant organisation. If violence or antisocial behaviour has been recorded, the organisation informs the FFF with this application. The information gathered facilitates policies to combat violence and take measures to prevent and repair. This database dates back to the 2006-2007 season.
The information gathered includes details of the incidents, the matches which generated tension and which teams were involved, the nature of the incident (physical or verbal aggression, damage to property, antisocial conduct), when it happened (before or after the match), whether there was a racist or discriminatory component and if police intervention or healthcare services were required. Information about the teams is also gathered, the level of the players, the venue, the date, the level of competition and whether the game was official or a friendly.
The observatory also qualifies “sensitive football matches” in order to apply preventive measures against violence.
Violence and antisocial behaviour recorded in amateur football and 5-a-side football in France (season 2015-2016)
Football matches involving violence in accordance with the main incident (5-a-side football not included)
|17-18 years old||Total|
|Total number of matches with recorded incidents||1,199 100%||10,764 100%|
|Physical assault||629 52.46%||5.134 47.69%|
|Armed assault||-0%||– 0%|
|Punch / violent action||501 41.78%||4.096 38.05%|
|Brawl / collective brawl||39 3.25%||199 1.84%|
|Attempted assault||30 2.50%||2792.59%|
|Push||59 4.92%||551 5.11%|
|Verbal aggression||511 42.61%||5.04946.90%|
|Threats / intimidation||99 8.25%||1.031 9.57%|
|Abusive/offensive language||412 34.36%||4.018 37.32%|
|Antisocial conduct||53 4.42%||496 4.60%|
|Throwing projectiles||12 1.00%||113 1.04%|
|Obscene gestures and behaviour||25 2.08%||2382.21%|
|Spitting||16 1.33%||145 1.34%|
|Damage to property||6 0.50%||54 0.50%|
|Incorrectly recorded||5 0.41%||31 0.28%|
Source: Behaviour observatory, season 2015-2016, FFF. Data management: ONDRP (National observatory of crime and penal response)
According to the above table, in games involving players of 17-18 years of age, physical assault amounted to 52% of the total, verbal aggression amounted to 43% and only 5% were of another nature. Taking the matches as a whole, the percentage of incidents involving physical assault was slightly lower (48%) and verbal violence, slightly higher (47%); the remaining 5% involved another type of violence.
5-a-side football has other characteristics (the size of the playing area, the fact that it is played in a closed area, and the proximity of spectators to players…) which explain why the features of violent behaviour vary:
- Although most incidents are caused by the players themselves, in football this amounts to 90% of cases, whereas in 5-a-side football this drops to 75% (season 2015-2016).
- On the other hand, in the context of football, 3% of illegal or antisocial behaviour is caused by spectators, whereas this percentage rises to 17% in the case of 5-a-side football.
Further information is available at “Les violences et les incivilités recensées dans le football et le futsalamateurs- saison 2015-2016”, La criminalité en France. Rapport annuel 2016 de l’ONDRP.
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