Last week, we looked at the main promoters of far-left political stances present in football stadiums around Europe. This week, we look at their antipodes, those who fiercely defend the extreme right and are ready to display their opinions, despite it being against the rules.
Perhaps the most well-known far-right football supporters in the world are those behind Rome’s SS Lazio. They have developed a strong rivalry with fans from other teams; not only supporters of their city opponent, AS Roma, but also those of Atlanta and Livorno, due to their political preference to the far left. Curva Nord, the northern stand of Stadio Olimpico where the hardcore Lazio supporters are, has been closed on numerous occasions after receiving bans for racist chants. The supporters of Lazio have close links with fan groups of Inter and Hellas Verona, based on their far-right ideas.
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Zenit Saint Petersburg is one of the strongest Russian Premier League clubs of the last decade. It is owned by the major sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, Gazprom, and has attracted players such as Danny, Hulk and Axel Witsel. But their fans have a dark fame: last year, the biggest fan union Ladscrona released a statement to say that Zenit’s squad should not be composed of either black or Latin players. They also wrote that the fans cannot be truly represented by anyone who is from a different race or is not heterosexual.
NK Dinamo Zagreb
Balkan football supporters are often regarded as the most passionate and violent. In this group fall the fans of NK Dinamo Zagreb, and in particular the group Bad Blue Boys. Not only have they caused trouble on their trips to other stadiums, both in Croatia and in other parts of Europe; they have also been accused of racism several times. The latest case came in the summer of 2013 on a Champions League qualifier fixture between Dinamo and Luxembourg’s Fola Esch, which also led to the club receiving a €25,000 fine from UEFA.
The Polish hooligan movement has long been evolving, to become possibly the most organized and feared in the whole of Europe. A key part of the movement is the collection of fans behind Legia Warszawa, from the country’s capital. Surprisingly, considering the history of Poland, some of their fans have adopted far-right ideology. Their nationalistic chants are often accompanied by racist songs, leading to a 30,000-euro fine from UEFA in August 2013 and the closing of the north tribune where the ultras are located.
The passionate support of the fans all over the world at times exceeds the sport aspect and interrelates with the other segments of the human society, including politics. Whether this should happen or not, there will be always different opinions, but one is clear – those involved will continue to defend, week after week, their views of how the world should be.