Sunday, June 26, 2016

UEFA and Its Fans

       So, soccer football has its European championship tournament, conducted in various venues in France.  Lille, Bordeaux, Paris, and Aix in Provence.  Local fans join visitors from the countries of sides on the pitch.   Wherever they come from, they arrive with high hopes, lots of enthusiasm, lots of pride, and not a little alcohol.  The results include joy and disappointment, and, sadly, a smattering of arrests, injuries, and ruined holidays.
       Security has been a concern long before the first kickoff occurred.  Recent tragedies only underscored the problems faced by local police and military forces.    While security forces were prepared, more than a few were faced with an unusual amount of fans engaging each other in or near the various venues.  And who was leading the charge?  Russyans, our friends from the Steppes, east of the Priepet Marshes, the lands of the Ural Mountain foothills.  Russya is not the only country with unruly fans, nor the only one that exports these thugs on a regular basis.  England, for one, has had to withhold passports from certain fans.  The Russya fan base is more organized, with its own leadership and its own support from quasi- government sources.   On two occasions within the last 2 weeks, the leader of the Russyan fan club has been deported by French authorities.  The French security apparatus appears to have a leak in its border controls.  They still are not sure how this individual was able to return so quickly to the scene of the contests.
       Mr. Putin has given the fan group indirect support by remaining silent on the activities visible on any media outlet that displayed the confrontations between Russyan fans and local police forces.   Hmmm.  Is this another Russyan export disguised as fan support?  Or is this another sad day for the Russyan people, trapped by cultural aberrations and historic paranoia?   Time will tell.

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