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Alcohol Fuels Euro Violence

At the other end of the fan behavior spectrum, there were 157 arrests in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt over the weekend as Germany met Poland in the first round of the European Nations' Cup. Reporting from the city, Jason Burt blames the liberal availability of alcohol.
He writes that many more would have been arrested "if the police hadn't, largely, turned a blind eye to the drunken, extreme behavior" that dogged the city throughout the weekend. "I counted 20 police vans tearing past my hotel, in the center of town, on Saturday evening to deal with trouble that erupted in the main area where the fans were corralled. Only the driving rain finally dampened their alcohol-fueled aggression."
Alcohol is "almost rammed down the throats of over-eager fans," and if "you start serving beer at breakfast time and still make it available 16 hours later, can you really be surprised that supporters drink too much -- even if I still can't understand why violence takes over? This is a football tournament for God's sake, so why does there have to be this level of aggression, this level of drinking and this level of behavior -- especially at such an exciting, brilliant tournament?"

Read the whole story at Independent »

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