The Lede: Exploring hooliganism ahead of World Cup in Russia


Jeff and Stephen explore hooliganism ahead of the 2018 World Cup and retrace the origins of fan violence in soccer.

Sam Borden of ESPN travelled to Russia for his magazine story on a new school of hooligan culture that sometimes doesn’t involve soccer, but might involve an architect or a graphic designer.

Sam joins The Lede from Russia to discuss these new MMA-style hooligans, their distaste for the Russian government and why the violence at Euro 2016 in Marseille escalated as it did.

[snippet id=4071101]

OPEN – Jeff and Stephen wonder how Russia will handle the hooligans during the World Cup.

2:05 – Stephen shares a story from France ’98 when England was playing in Lens and how the police handled violence 20 years ago.

5:35 – Jeff and Stephen retrace the origins hooligan culture in England from literature to television shows to real matches.

7:00 – Margaret Thatcher left her mark on soccer culture in England when she proposed to put an end to soccer hooliganism.

8:15 – Stephen shares a story from his time covering the World Cup in Toulouse, France (1998).

9:15 – Euro 2000, England vs. Germany: Stephen witnessed the match and the pre-match brawl.

10:35 – 2002 World Cup in Japan/South Korea: Stephen remembers the TV coverage around the tournament and how the Japanese fans and officers were overly prepared for the hooligans.

12:30 – There are many clubs that have ultra-nationalist supports that are racist and violent.

[snippet id=3758859]

15:35 – Sam Borden of ESPN joins the show to discuss his story on a new breed of soccer hooligans.

18:30 – How do these groups connect to soccer if they train to fight?

19:20 – What would have to happen to get these hooligans out of the forest and into the streets? A poor showing from the Russian national team?

20:35 – What happened in Marseille in 2016? How did that get so out of hand? Why did the Russians attack fans?

23:35 – Who are these guys and where is the common ground is culturally and socially?

25:25 – When it comes to a type of government, who do these guys support? Would they consider themselves Nazis?

“They think that Putin is too soft. They think that he cares too much about the external image and isn’t focused enough on what’s going on in Russia.”

32:23 – Will the World Cup be well attended?

34:20 – The bid for the 2026 World Cup bid is this week. The sport is growing in North American and is already huge in Mexico.

Blair: “I almost wonder if for FIFA coming to the United States, Mexico and Canada where there will not have to be a stadium built, where the travel infrastructure is fine, there are plenty of hotels. All this stuff. I wonder if North America won’t be looked at almost as a safe haven for FIFA. Even though, let’s face it, it was largely the FBI and the U.S. authorities that took FIFA to task. And even though the President of the United States hasn’t made making friends with countries around the world a priority.”

Brunt: “With one exception.”

40:10 – Tease for next week as former U.S. men’s national team defender Alexi Lalas will join The Lede


When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.