Football and Hooliganism

Apr 4, 2021

EDU Resources

To what extent is hooliganism about football?

What are the causes of football hooliganism and their connections to certain elements of society? How can this be explained?

Connections can be guided by opinions, prejudices, facts, and their various combinations, influencing the way we perceive things.

In this lesson, students will explore this relationship by analyzing to what extent hooliganism is about football.

In this article:


FC Carl Zeiss Jena - FC Berlin, April 7, 1990 (Photo: Jan Peter Kasper | Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-0408-011 | CC-BY-SA 3.0).

FC Carl Zeiss Jena – FC Berlin. April 7, 1990 (Photo: Jan Peter Kasper | Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-0408-011 | CC-BY-SA 3.0).

Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions

The leading question within this learning activity is: to what extent is hooliganism about football? The lesson is divided into three activities that will allow students to dive deeper into the world of football and hooliganism, as well as improve their abilities to work with sources and critical thinking skills. Each activity involves critical source analysis to understand the wider context and causes of hooliganism in football. It is important for teachers to address predominant stereotypes and misconceptions that exist within society. In the end, students will develop potential suggestions to confront hooliganism based on the information and knowledge that they have gathered from working with the sources.

Beyond generalizations through debate

This lesson will take approximately 180 minutes and is divided into three activities. The lesson is best suited for more advanced students between the ages of 13 and 18. However, there is no additional advanced subject-area knowledge necessary for teaching this lesson. The lesson will start with dividing the classroom into groups of four. Each group will receive a ‘mystery’ source without annotations and a large piece of paper divided into three squares. Each student will use post-its to write as many points for each square layer as possible, then students will compare and discuss their points. The lesson will end with a plenary discussion about the role football plays in hooliganism and possible solutions against the use of violence.

The first activity consists of the discussion of four sources in student groups. After this discussion, students will work in pairs to focus on two of the four sources. This will lead to a plenary discussion about the definition of hooliganism. The second activity is the teacher’s choice: to decide between giving students sources and letting them discuss in groups to create five possible reasons for violent behaviour, or giving students worksheets with possible reasons and letting them identify those reasons in the source. Both activities will be finalised with a plenary discussion about the possible reasons for violence. For the third activity, the teacher will give a short introduction and stress the risks of misconceptions. Students will then be asked to research specific events in the history of hooliganism, concluding with a plenary discussion to compare and contrast their case studies and discuss what role is played by football in violent behaviour. Conclude the lesson with a discussion of possible causes and solutions for hooliganism.

Looking beyond

The strength of this activity lies in the combination of critically analyzing historical sources and discussing them in groups or the whole class. This results in a lesson where students are presented with the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and social and civic competencies in order to have a high-quality debate in class.

Find Out More

Acces the educational resource ‘’Football and Hooliganism’’ on Historiana.

Article Tags:   20th century  |   fans  |   teaching  |   values

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