Real Madrid Hooligans Fight Malaga Ultras Amidst Rise Of Fan Violence In European Football
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Imagine walking side by side with nine of your closest friends on match day. Except you are not going to the stadium. You are going to meet 10 other men supporting the rival team in the forest and you are going to fight them.
While this may sound overly dramatic, it actually happened in Spain this weekend.
Ultras supporting Málaga (Costa Nostra) face Real Madrid hooligans (Ultras Sur) hours prior to the game.
The battle was planned beforehand and the rules were clear: 10 vs. 10, no weapons; fists, knees and elbows allowed.
Real Madrid hooligans were dressed in black while Málaga supporters were sporting a blue T-shirt reading "fight, bleed, win."
According to different media, the fight lasted for about a minute and Ultras Sur came out victorious.
A Twitter account named @UltrasAccount posted a message stating: "Honor to both groups! Since yesterday you deserve utmost respect of all the groups comprising the Ultra Spanish scene. … This is the beginning of something great."
Algo está cambiando en el mundo ultra Español...Pelea pactada esta mañana en un bosque.
Ultras Sur (Real Madrid) 10
La Costa Nostra (Antifascistas,Malaga) 10
— UltrasAccount (@UltrasAccount) 15 de abril de 2018
The event is worrying as social media buzz suggests more similar fights could take place between opposing fans in LaLiga.
Allegedly, the brawl was inspired by Russian-style hooligan fighting called "Draka" — which means "fight" — the main difference being fights in Russia feature 20 men on each side.
Apparently this practice has its origins in traditional Russian organized brawls known as "Stenka na Stenku."
World Cup authorities should be concerned about potential violent outbreaks as recently Russian hooligans supposedly made death threats to English ultras visiting Russia this summer.
The rise of soccer-related violence is all the more worrisome considering last the 2016 Euros were also stained with violence as Russian and English hooligans repeatedly clashed in the streets and stadiums of France.
With heightened political tension between the UK and Russia there is no doubt safety will be a major concern once the World Cup starts on June 14th.