Swedish Comparison Essay
October 29, 2011
First year writing
Swedish and Turkish Soccer Fanatics
Soccer began as an English sport and quickly spread throughout the world. European counties were first introduced to soccer in the late eighteen hundred’s. By the early twentieth century, kids began to play soccer and many had recruited enough players to start games and clubs. Later, leagues were officially organized and soccer developed into the beloved sport it is today. Since European soccer was simultaneously acknowledge, many teams have similar attributes. These resemblances are most evident in Swedish and Turkish soccer clubs. From origin, to fan behavior, and affect on society, fan fanaticism is still a having an impact on soccer. Fan clubs play a major role in soccer’s expansion and clubs have become a part of daily routine for many fanatics. These fan clubs have many similarities, however, they are also very different.
Sweden started playing soccer in 1914. Fanaticism all began when a Swedish man brought a soccer ball. His nephew, Erik Ostman, had a great idea to start a soccer club. Shortly after a club was formed, they started by playing games on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Immediately there was much interest and the club increased in numbers. Soccer continued in Sweden for years as an amateur club. It wasn't until Joe Booth, a soccer official, that soccer began to be officially organized for competitions. Booth started with seven teams in his league, only needing one more to qualify as a recognized league (Skog). Unlike the origin of Swedish soccer, Turkish soccer was heavily influenced around 1870, by British merchants during the Ottoman Empire. Originally the Sultan banned soccer playing among the Turkish people because soccer was considered a form of westernization. In 1901, a naval student had acquired a soccer ball and learned the rules from a British shipmate. He found other Turkish people to play in a game verse Greece. Shortly after losing the game one-zero, they were caught by the Turkish police. This was the very first soccer team in Turkey and they called themselves the Block Stockings, a British name to throw off police. Eventually soccer continued to catch on and soccer became the biggest athletic sport in Turkey (Batuman). Despite the obvious differences in soccer’s origin in each country, Sweden and Turkey share the same number of big soccer clubs. Today Sweden roots for the Djurgården, Hammarby and AIK, the big Stockholm clubs ("Hooliganism should be fought with proportional measures”) and the Turks cheer on the Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, the three big clubs of Istanbul (Batuman). Soccer fans greatly affect the game of soccer. In Sweden and Turkey the effects of fan behavior usually cost the clubs and other fans.
Fan behavior in Sweden and Turkey is very similar. Sweden deals with fan violence a lot, just like Turkey. In a match between Syrianska and AIK, fans thew firecrackers at assistant referees. The AIK club, forced by the Soccer Federation, took the blame for the violence, and as a result the team would lose the match three-zero. In addition the federation gave the AIK a 150,000 fine. A short year and a half ago, Djurgården, won for the first time against Assyriska. Djurgården fans excited stormed the field to celebrate. One fan however punched a Assyriska player during this incident, causing the Djurgården to play their first home match without any fans (" Hooliganism should be fought ”). David Bartram visited Sweden to report on his experience at a local soccer game, AIK verses Hammarby. As an English fan himself he is still surprised by his first hand accounts.
For someone raised on the rough and tumble of the English lower leagues, I was still surprised by the intensity of my first Swedish football match – the Stockholm derby between Hammarby and AIK.The game was marred by violence when Hammarby’s Louay Chanko was struck by an object thrown from AIK supporters as he prepared to take a corner. What followed was a 15 minute interval as referee Stefan Johanesson ordered the players off the pitch. (Bartram)
Bartram expresses shock by the violence he is witnessing, he cannot believe the fanaticism of the spectators. Even David Bartram’s experience in Sweden cannot compare to Elif Batuman personal account of Turkish fans. In her article she writes about constant fan violence. During a practice game back in 2003 a fan was stabbed to death, she continues to add the rarity in such violent fanaticism. The game she attends in Turkey portrays this kind of violence when she hears two fans were stabbed and one female spectator was hit over the head with a bottle at the game. Fans have become so violent that for one game all males were banned from attending the game allowing only women and children (Batuman). Both sides have extreme violence when involved in soccer competitions. In spite of these severe outburst by both Swedish and Turkish fans, Turkish fans bring a new level to the bad side of the game. Many punishments have been given to both sides but the violence persists. Society is negatively effected when fans chose violence over sportsmanship. Nonetheless society can also benefit from these fan clubs.
Many fan clubs in Sweden participate in events to help in different social projects, like preventing young people from falling into criminal activity. The big three fan clubs in Stockholm also provide children with a league for playing soccer. They also support and sponsor kid teams. Bigger clubs concerned with safety during soccer games, are spending million Swedish kronor each year on security issue. Fan clubs are responsible for the security inside the arena. The Swedish club also host Christmas parties with traditional foods, and include Santa for the young (" Hooliganism should be fought”). Turkey fans are more about community and a way of life. People come together in Istanbul under their favorite teams. Çarşi, the Beşiktaş fan club, benefits society by making banners on important matters. Kids and adults learn to be accepting of others when there is a common interest in soccer teams. Banners like “Çarşi is not racist, Çarşi is against war”, symbolizes Çarşi is united against these issues and fans believe in their message. (Batuman). Both types of fans have affected society whether through social events for kids or by pulling a community together.
Swedish and Turkish fans are very similar, sometimes Turkish fans can be more intense then Swedish fans, but overall both fans share many characteristics. Soccer may have been influenced in different ways, nevertheless leagues were still formed. Soccer has turned into the biggest athletic sport in Sweden and Turkey. The fan behavior is so similar, two journalists had the same shocking amazement to report when witnessing fan violence during two different soccer games. Although fan violence is negatively affect the game’s image, Swedish and Turkish soccer still continues to help kids and society. Clubs unite communities under one family in the name of their beloved soccer team.
Bartram, David. "Swedish Football at a Crossroads - The Local." The Local - Sweden's News in English. The Local Swedish News in English, 15 Apr. 2008. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. Batuman, Elif . "The View From the Stands." The New Yorker 7 Mar. 2011: 57-65. Print. 21 Oct. 2011.
Skog, Carol E. "Club History." The Scandinavian Club. The Scandinavian Club of Fairfield. Web. 24 Oct. 2011
" Hooliganism should be fought with proportional measures” Stockholm News. Stockholm News - Latest news from Stockholm, Sweden. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.