Euro 2012 – the not so beautiful game

Football. It’s just a game right? Euro 2012 is just some men kicking some balls about, nothing to get worked up about.

Apparently not.

Football generally, and especially tournaments such as Euro 2012, aren’t just a bit of fun. When you think of football violence though, what do you think of? Lads outside the pub having a bit of a scuffle? Fans at the match winding up the other team? Unfortunately, the victims of football violence are often hidden behind closed doors. They are the WAGS – the wives, girlfriends and even children of the football fans, angry at their team for missing that winning goal.

When England lost 4-1 to Germany in the 2010 World Cup, domestic abuse rose across England by a third. And that’s just the stuff that got reported. During Euro 2012, posters and leaflets are being circulated through many parts of the country in doctor’s surgeries, community centres, even pub toilets, trying to raise awareness of the problem.


"football domestic violence"

Poster from West Yorkshire police, who saw domestic violence virtually double during one 2010 England World Cup match.

I will say that again in case you didn’t read the caption – during one England World Cup match, West Yorkshire Police saw reports of domestic violence virtually double.

This isn’t OK.

It isn’t OK to hit your wife because your favourite football team lost. It isn’t OK to scare your children just because the ball hit the post.

Anyone who is a victim of any form of domestic violence should contact the Police – either on 101 if it is to report an incident which has taken place, or if you are in immediate danger, on 999. If you are a violent man, wanting support to stop, call the National Helpline For Men Wanting To Change on 0808 8024040.




  1. 19 June, 2012 / 7:56 pm

    Too long ago to admit to I was in a petrol station after England lost a game during a World Cup. A (very drunk) guy walked across the forecourt, throwing the nozzles of the petrol pumps across the concrete and into cars, before storming into the shop and attacking the poor guy behind the counter, simply because their skins happened to be different colours. Horrific. Football – the beautiful game? I’m not convinced.

  2. 19 June, 2012 / 8:12 pm

    It’s so good to see this actually getting talked about. A friend of mine when I was younger got battered by her dad every time his team lost… I only found out years later too :( x

  3. 19 June, 2012 / 8:13 pm

    I agree with Scarlett. It’s good to see this side of “fan-hood” being talked about! The statistics are shocking. As an ex-social worker I used to dread these evens x

  4. honeybee35
    19 June, 2012 / 10:56 pm

    This type of campaign is long overdue and I’m glad you’ve highlighted it…It will be interesting to see if it has any impact on the reported domestic violence figures after the tournament?
    Violent bullies find any excuse to torment their partners & families…makes me so upset.

  5. Rowan Hoban
    19 June, 2012 / 11:30 pm

    Scary stuff. I read some research a whole ago that said that it doesn’t matter if they win or lose either, that the heightened emotion of winning, then being ‘brought down’ by home life could be as much of a trigger as losing. Really important issue to raise at times like these x

  6. ethicalcompanies
    20 June, 2012 / 8:22 am

    Guys can be violent a**holes with or without football, don’t blame the football specifically.

  7. 20 June, 2012 / 9:18 am

    I had no idea about this, thank you for writing about it.

  8. Loops
    21 June, 2012 / 11:44 am

    I was often on the receiving end if Man UTD lost a game. In fact I actually finally found the courage to leave with my 3 year old son on Wednesday 19th April 2000 when Real Madrid knocked UTD out of the Champions League

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