From the abyss to hosting Mancini’s Saudi squad: how South Shields FC turned their fortunes around

Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia squad training at South Shields FC facilities in September. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 11 June 2024
Follow

From the abyss to hosting Mancini’s Saudi squad: how South Shields FC turned their fortunes around

  • Club from the North East of England are making their way up the football pyramid after being saved by chairman Geoff Thompson nine years ago
  • Thompson is hoping to sell the historic club to new investors as he looks to retire

When the Saudi national team set up camp in the North East of England last year for two friendly matches at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park, they also gave a boost to one of the region’s most historic if, for global audiences at least, lesser-known clubs.

In September, the Green Falcons faced Costa Rica and South Korea at the home of the PIF-owned Premier League giants, with their training sessions taking place at nearby South Shields FC, a team that plays in English football’s sixth tier.

For Geoff Thompson, the National League North club’s chairman, it was vindication of a labor of love to rescue the institution from obscurity almost a decade ago.

“We had the Saudi national team train with us last year, which was a fantastic occasion,” Thompson told Arab News. “We were able to sort of welcome Roberto (Mancini) and Claudio (Donatelli), the team’s manager and fitness coach.”

“I’m sure you’ll have heard they had a great time with us,” Thompson said. “We looked after them very well, and they trained in our facility prior to their game at St. James’ Park.”

South Shields, established in 1888, is now a club very much on the up after struggles in recent decades. Thompson’s investments saved the club from the abyss, and now their first-class facilities had become a welcoming home for Mancini’s squad. Donatelli was impressed.

“I know the region very well; in the past, I worked at Sunderland AFC and lived in Newcastle,” the fitness and performance coach said.

“The entire North East of England has a great passion for football, with children and adults crowding the stadiums. I found the same vibrant passion running on the pitch of the 1st Cloud Arena, the home of South Shields Football Club. For me, it was a happy return home.”




Above, South Shields Chairman Geoff Thompson. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia may have lost both matches, but overall it was a positive experience, with many locals showing support for the country that delivered Newcastle United from the unpopular regime of previous owner Mike Ashley.

“What I remember most is the courteous hospitality and helpfulness of everyone who welcomed our team and the technical staff,” Donatelli said. “We also greatly appreciated the excellent condition of the football pitch and the locker rooms. Everything was very professional. Talking with the staff of South Shields FC, I understood how much this football club is connected to the community and the people of the entire area, thanks to a series of sports and social services that help people live their daily lives well.”

Thompson hopes that the experience can be repeated in the future and highlights that the relationship was two-way.

“In fairness, the players and the management were incredibly courteous and friendly. And I’d like to think we were obviously, you know, very good hosts and, likewise, friendly and courteous.

“The players, I think, enjoyed the experience of training at our ground. So it was all quite a surreal moment, really, for us because, nine years ago, we were languishing further down the pyramid and here we are later hosting the Saudi national team,” he said.

“It’s kind of fairytale stuff really. They were incredible guests, very courteous, and enjoyed the experience. We loved having them with us. It’s very humbling; we got some very pleasant feedback from both Roberto and Claudio, and indeed from the players as well.”

The club was established back in 1888 as South Shields Adelaide Athletic and were playing in the Football League in the late 1920s. In 1930, the club folded and moved to Gateshead. It was reestablished as South Shields FC in 1974.

“I like to tell the story that South Shields were beating the likes of Man United and Chelsea back in the 1920s, which is quite a remarkable comment. Unfortunately, the club fell on slightly harder times.”

Thompson bought the club and Mariners Park ground in 2015, and they have been on an upward trajectory since then.

“I got involved because the club were in some difficulty back in 2015. We were playing our football outside of our hometown,” he said.

As a local businessman who was born in South Shields, Thompson felt he owed the club a lifeline.

“I really wanted to step in and try to help. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve really enjoyed it and we’ve come a long way in that nine years.”

Thompson points out that South Shields is equidistant between Newcastle United, once branded the “richest club in the world,” and their fierce rivals Sunderland.

“The town itself has about 100,000 people who live there. South Tyneside, the area, has 150,000. And the broader geography in the North East is about, I think it’s about 1.5 to 2 million people. The region is renowned for its passion for football.”

Thompson smiles when he says that while his investment is “not quite the Saudi investment in Newcastle,” it was still a considerable amount that has changed the fortunes of the club.

“We’ve progressed the club through the English football pyramid. We’re now hoping at some point to get back into the Football League. We’re currently in the National League system, sitting in the National League North.”

Promotions achieved on the field, however, would not have been sanctioned if the club had not got their house in order off it. The investment in infrastructure as much as players meant the club was in rude health.

“You know, the facilities have to satisfy certain conditions. So we’ve achieved all of that, which I’m pleased to say. And we’re now in the National League system.”

South Shields now have their eyes on the English Football League. Thompson said that he wants to “future-proof” the club on that ambitious journey.

“We spent over £3 million ($3.8 million) on a new stand recently; we’ve got a great playing surface, and we’ve got our own separate training facilities.”

There have been trophies along the way, too, with South Shields winning the Northern League Cup in 2017. The same year, there was a 4-0 win over Cleethorpes Town in the FA Vase final at Wembley.

“We had something like 22,000 South Shields fans down at Wembley, which was quite a remarkable weekend for the town,” Thompson said.

The club has established several initiatives through their South Shield Academy system, which caters to talent between the ages of 11 and 19, and more recently the International Academy, catering for ages 18-24.

Around the time the Saudi squad visited South Shields last September, the club launched a partnership with nearby Sunderland University, offering international students keen on accessing football-based training, coaching and knowledge the opportunity to enrol in a one-year study abroad program or a  three-year undergraduate degree program, both for high school graduates. There is also a one-year master’s degree program for students who are graduating from university. 

Initially the club targeted players mostly from the US, but is now looking to attract talent from the Middle East, the Far East and Australasia.

Sadly, for health reasons, Thompson has decided to put the club up for sale.

“Any new owner will really be inheriting a fantastic organization that’s got all of the infrastructure in place.”

They would also be taking over a club that has several money-making initiatives, he said.

“You can’t survive alone on matchday income (alone),” said Thompson. “If you look at our revenue streams, of course, yes, we’re well supported. We typically get around 2,500 fans currently attending our home games. (But also) we’ve separately got our sponsorship revenues. Thirdly, we’ve got merchandise, selling shirts and the like to fans. And, then, in addition, we’ve got the academy revenues themselves.”

Around 40 players have progressed through the academy — established seven years ago — to make appearances for South Shields’ first team.

Thompson said that where South Shields distinguish themselves over other rivals is that they are a full-time professional club, a status achieved in 2021.

He credits South Shields Sporting Director, Lee Picton, for playing a major role in creating a set-up that has seen the club’s profile, and reputation, skyrocket in recent years.

On targeting talent from the Middle East region, Picton said: “We are building strong links with the UAE and wider Middle East region by developing partnership connections with clubs and academic institutions in the region. This is further aided by the strong connection between Newcastle United Football Club and its majority owner, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.” 

Thompson is hoping that the Saudi investment in Newcastle will have an impact — and shine a light — on the region in a way that will benefit other institutions, including South Shields, on and off the pitch.

“I would love to think that will happen over time,” he said. “What I have seen already is obviously under Saudi ownership, the Newcastle United Foundation is doing more and more. And I set up our own foundation, South Shields FC’s Foundation. And so we’ve got a charitable foundation that’s very similar to Newcastle’s, maybe not quite on the same scale, but we’ve got a very similar charitable purpose to try to help young children and to make them more physically active.”

South Shield may also have pulled off a unique feat that many in the region could not have contemplated.

“I’d like to think we’re many people’s first club,” he said. “But we’re also a lot of Sunderland and Newcastle fans’ second club. We’re probably the only club in the entire country where a Newcastle fan and a Sunderland fan can watch a game of football together without any animosity.”

Comparisons with Wrexham AFC are hard to avoid. The Welsh club has in recent years become a global phenomenon thanks to the Netflix series “Welcome to Wrexham,” which followed the team’s return to the EPL after a 15-year absence following the purchase of the club by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

“One thing I would say is that all of that investment in infrastructure I mentioned earlier, that’s a one-off investment. People don’t have to keep repeating that,” Thompson said.

“So all of the hard yards, all the spade work is being done now, the infrastructure’s in place. We own our own ground, it’s not owned by the council or by a third party. We’ve got a fantastic separate training facility that our foundation, our charitable foundation, run.

“It’s a bit like the Wrexham story in many respects. One thing I would stress is that there’s no debt in the club.”

Thompson said the club is primed for a bright future under any new owners.

“It’s almost approaching 100 years since we were last in the Football League, in the EFL equivalent, although it was the old Second Division, the championship right now,” he said. “But wouldn’t it be an amazing thing? I had this aspiration to get the club back into the Football League within that 100-year window.

“Honestly, I’ve had a fantastic period of time,” he said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. (Now) I’m going to take my time to find the new owner, the new partner.”


Argentina apologizes to France in football-chant row

Updated 20 July 2024
Follow

Argentina apologizes to France in football-chant row

BUENOS AIRES: Buenos Aires apologized to France after Argentina’s vice president called the European country “colonialist” and its people “hypocrites” in an argument over alleged racist chants by Argentine footballers.
President Javier Milei’s office said Friday it had sent a senior official to the French embassy to explain that Victoria Villarruel’s angry statement on social media was made in her personal capacity.
FIFA has announced an investigation into the chants sung by Argentina players, including Chelsea and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez, 23, after they won the Copa America.
The chants were heard on a live video posted on social media by Fernandez from the team bus in the wake of the Copa victory over Colombia in Miami on Sunday.
The song targets France’s star striker Kylian Mbappe among others and includes racist and homophobic insults.
Fernandez has apologized, but Chelsea have launched an internal disciplinary procedure against him. The French Football Federation (FFF) has complained to FIFA.
On Wednesday, Villarruel expressed support for Fernandez on X, saying: “No colonialist country is going to intimidate us because of a stadium chant nor for speaking truths that they do not want to admit. Enough with feigned outrage, hypocrites.”
The diplomatic incident came just days before Milei is due to travel to Paris to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
“Diplomatic relations with France are intact,” presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni said Friday.
Argentina’s under secretary for sports, Julio Garro, was dismissed from his post this week after saying captain Lionel Messi and the Argentine Football Association should apologize for the chants.


Costa Rica keeps USA to 0-0 draw in Olympic sendoff game

Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Costa Rica keeps USA to 0-0 draw in Olympic sendoff game

WASHINGTON: Costa Rica played the United States women’s national team to a goal-less draw on Tuesday in the Americans’ sendoff match before departing for the Paris Olympics.

US captain Lindsey Horan told a crowd of nearly 19,000 spectators they were undaunted about their chances in France despite the draw.

“We wish we would have gotten the win,” she said. “But we’re going to go out and do our thing at the Olympics. This team is amazing. We’re going to represent this country so well and we’ll do everything possible to being back a gold medal.”

Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermudez and a swarming defensive effort frustrated a patient US squad to earn the Ticas a draw after losses in their first 17 matches against the Americans.

The US women outshot Costa Rica 26-2, forcing 12 saves from Bermudez and taking all 16 corners in the match.

“It takes a lot of patience to play against a low block. Costa Rica did it really well,” US midfielder Sophia Smith said. “It was definitely challenging for us but it was a good test because we’re going to face that in the Olympics.

“I know we can create chances. We created I don’t know how many chances tonight. It’s getting one in the back of the net, no matter how that looks. That will come.”

While it was a disappointment against a defensive-minded squad for new coach Emma Hayes and her US team, it showed the Americans what they need to do before they start to play for gold next week in France.

“That was a big message from Emma at the end of the game — don’t be frustrated,” Smith said. “We wanted a result from this but these games are preparation for something bigger.

“We need to peak when we need to peak and that’s at the start of the Olympics. We’re calm about it. We’re not frustrated. We trust the process. We know things will go our way when we need them to.”

The American women begin Olympic Group B play on July 25 against Zambia at Nice and also face Germany and Australia in group matches at Marseille.

“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Smith said. “I’m so excited to be going with this group. I’m excited to get the ball rolling in France. This group has a lot of potential and good things in store.”

The United States have won four Olympic women’s football titles — in 1996 on home soil and three in a row in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

US midfielder Rose Lavelle, who helped win the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, was a late scratch from the match due to leg tightness. Korbin Albert replaced her in the US starting lineup.

The Americans have three wins and a draw without surrendering a goal under England’s Hayes.

“I think we’ve made good, nice progress,” Hayes said. “When you take over a team and you’ve got to implement quite a lot, they have adapted to those ideas really well.

“We’re going into the Olympics with an idea of what we look to do most of our moments but now we’re starting to add some adaptations.”

Smith and Mallory Swanson were each denied on early chances by Bermudez while Trinity Rodman was offside on another US opportunity.

Bermudez and Rodman collided as the keeper denied Horan in the 24th minute. Bermudez also grabbed a Horan header in the 40th minute and thwarted Smith shortly before halftime.

Bermudez batted away a Smith chance in the 49th minute and deflected Horan’s kick in the 50th to keep Las Ticas level.

Horan found the net in the 55th minute only for the offside flag to be raised.

Bermudez deflected away a Rodman centering pass in extra time and Horan nodded a header over the crossbar in the final seconds.


Hard Rock Stadium hits back at CONMEBOL after Copa final chaos

Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Hard Rock Stadium hits back at CONMEBOL after Copa final chaos

MIAMI:  Hard Rock Stadium defended the security measures in place for Sunday’s Copa America final after CONMEBOL accused the venue of ignoring advice that might have prevented the chaotic incidents that held up the game.

The showpiece final between Colombia and Argentina at the Miami venue was delayed by 82 minutes as overwhelmed security struggled to get fans inside after ticketless fans rushed the entry points.

CONMEBOL, the governing body for football in South America, suggested that local organizers had failed to follow suggested procedures such as setting up an outer perimeter to screen ticketless fans.

“We regret that the acts of violence produced by malicious people have tarnished a final that was ready to be a great celebration of sport,” CONMEBOL said in their statement, adding that CONMEBOL “was subject to the decisions made by the Hard Rock Stadium authorities, according to the contractual responsibilities established for security operations.”

Stadium officials said Tuesday that security measures were jointly decided by the venue, CONMEBOL and local law enforcement.

“Hard Rock Stadium has safely hosted hundreds of world-class events in its 37-year history, including Super Bowls, major international soccer matches, Formula 1, NFL and college football, headline concert tours and other global events,” management of the venue said in a statement.

“In each of those, security was a joint effort among the organizer, local law enforcement agencies and the venue.

“As we’ve previously said, Hard Rock Stadium worked collaboratively with CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and local law enforcement agencies on security both leading up to and during the Copa America tournament.

“The agencies met regularly, including daily security briefings throughout the month-long tournament. Hard Rock Stadium implemented, and in many cases exceeded, CONMEBOL’s security recommendations throughout the tournament and the Final.”

The disturbing scenes before the final, won 1-0 by Argentina, immediately raised concerns for the 2026 World Cup which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Local police, overwhelmed by the situation despite the presence of 800 officers, said they detained 27 people and ejected 55 others from the venue.

It wasn’t the only concerning security incident during the tournament.

On Wednesday, Uruguay players were involved in a brawl with Colombian fans in the stands after their 1-0 semifinal defeat in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Gareth Southgate says it’s ‘time for change’ and announces he will step down as England manager

Updated 17 July 2024
Follow

Gareth Southgate says it’s ‘time for change’ and announces he will step down as England manager

  • Southgate’s contract was due to expire this year and his announcement comes after months of uncertainty surrounding his future
  • Southgate achieved what no other England manager has by leading his team to two finals, including a first on foreign soil

LONDON: After eight years, four major tournaments and two finals, Gareth Southgate announced he was stepping down as England manager on Tuesday, saying it was “time for change.”

Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Spain in the European Championship final proved to be his last game in charge of the national team.

“As a proud Englishman, it has been the honor of my life to play for England and to manage England. It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all,” he said. “But it’s time for change, and for a new chapter.”

Southgate’s contract was due to expire this year and his announcement comes after months of uncertainty surrounding his future.

Mikel Oyarzabal’s 86th-minute winner in Berlin was a painful way to end his reign after he transformed the fortunes of England’s underperforming national team.

Hired in 2016, he led England to back-to-back finals at the Euros and to the semifinals of the World Cup in 2018.

But, ultimately, he was unable to end the nation’s decades-long wait for a first major trophy since the World Cup in 1966.

“Gareth, I want to thank you — not as the President of the FA, but as an England fan,” Prince William said on X. “Thank you for creating a team that stands shoulder to shoulder with the world’s finest in 2024. Thank you for showing humility, compassion, and true leadership under the most intense pressure and scrutiny. And thank you for being an all-round class act. You should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved. W.”

Southgate said before the European Championship that it would likely be his last tournament if England did not win.

During it, he faced fierce criticism for the team’s early performances and some fans threw plastic beer cups in his direction at the end of the 0-0 draw with Slovenia in the group phase.

But he achieved what no other England manager has by leading his team to two finals, including a first on foreign soil.

“Gareth has made the impossible job possible and laid strong foundations for future success. He is held in the highest regard by the players, the backroom team, by everyone at the FA and across the world of football,” said Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the English Football Association.

Before Southgate’s arrival England had won only seven knockout games at tournaments since 1966. The team won nine during his tenure.

England was also in the top five of FIFA’s rankings for six years under Southgate. Previously its longest run had been seven months.

Southgate was not an obvious choice to take over when hired after Sam Allardyce’s one-match reign came to an end after just 67 days in charge.

He didn’t have a stellar managerial career, with a three-year spell at Middlesbrough his only job in club soccer.

But he was well-respected within the FA for his work with England’s under-21 team and he exceeded all expectations with the senior job.

The World Cup semifinal in 2018 came after England had suffered the humiliation of being eliminated by Iceland at Euro 2016 and failed to advance beyond the group stage of the World Cup in 2014.

England had not advanced to a semifinal since Euro 96 and hadn’t reached that stage of a World Cup since 1990.

At the Euros in 2021, Southgate went one better by leading his team to the final, which it lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.

England were tied 1-1 with Spain in the final on Sunday before Oyarzabal’s late winner.

“We look back at Gareth’s tenure with huge pride — his contribution to the English game, including a significant role in player development, and in culture transformation has been unique. However, it is his record of winning tournament games which is most extraordinary,” Bullingham said.

Southgate was widely seen as a unifying figure during a period of political upheaval in English politics and society, taking over the national team shortly after a divisive referendum on leaving the European Union and seeing five different prime ministers during his time in charge.

“Gareth Southgate’s greatest achievement was not on the pitch, but in the standard that he has set for how a role model and representative of our country should conduct themselves,” Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis said on X. “His legacy will be a generation of young people who have learned from him that leadership is primarily about decency, integrity and bringing honor to others. That is worth more to our country than any trophy.”

Now thoughts will turn to finding Southgate’s successor and the FA said the process was already underway.

Jurgen Klopp stepped down as Liverpool manager at the end of last season, but the German has said he wants to take a break.

Former Tottenham, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is out of work, as well as former Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel.

Sarina Wiegman has led the England Women’s team to success in the Euros and also to the final of the World Cup last year.

Leading English contenders could include Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, former Chelsea bosses Graham Potter and Frank Lampard and England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley.

England play Ireland in the Nations League on Sept. 7, but the FA said it was prepared to go into that match with an interim coach, rather than rush to a decision on its next manager.


Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final

  • Both men are facing three counts of felony battery on an official after being accused of fighting multiple stadium security guards
  • In a statement released Monday, CONMEBOL said it regrets the scene in which countless fans entered the stadium without tickets and “tarnished” the event

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Colombia’s football federation president and his son were among 27 people arrested during the crowd control issues that broke out Sunday at the Copa America final between Argentina and Colombia, police said Monday.

Ramon Jesurun and his son Ramon Jamil Jesurun were detained after the event at Hard Rock Stadium and charged, Miami-Dade police detective Andre Martin told The Associated Press.

Both men are facing three counts of felony battery on an official after being accused of fighting multiple stadium security guards. Arrest records said both men tried to go onto the field through a tunnel where media was gathering after the match. They were stopped by security, and the police report said they “became irate” at the delay. A verbal altercation eventually turned physical with a guard placing an “open palm” on Ramon Jamil Jesurun’s chest to “guide him back” and the younger Jesurun grabbing the guard “around his neck” and pulling him to the ground before throwing “two punches that impacted” the guard, the report said. The two men were placed into custody after midnight.

Colombia’s football federation didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request for comment from the AP.

Ramon Jesurun, 71, has been president of the Colombian football federation since 2015 and is a vice president of CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body that organizes the Copa America tournament.

Ramon Jesurun, the head of Colombia’s football federation, is shown in this police booking photo after an altercation at the stadium shortly after midnight, according to arrest reports by Miami police, in Miami, Florida, Monday. (Reuters)

In a statement released Monday, the organization said it regrets the scene in which countless fans entered the stadium without tickets and “tarnished” the event. The game was delayed for more than an hour as authorities worked to control the situation, eventually deciding to let some fans in without going through security checkpoints.

“In this situation, CONMEBOL was subject to the decisions made by the Hard Rock Stadium authorities, according to the contractual responsibilities established for security operations,” the organization said. “In addition to the preparations determined in this contract, CONMEBOL recommended to these authorities the procedures proven in events of this magnitude, which were NOT taken into account.”

Hard Rock Stadium — the site of 2026 World Cup matches — said security was a shared responsibility between its stadium officials, the organization, CONCACAF (the governing body that oversees football in North and Central America and the Caribbean) and local police.

“More than double the personnel” used for a typical event were onsite Sunday, a stadium spokesperson said in a news release.

Miami-Dade police said more than 800 law enforcement officers were at the match. In addition to the arrests, 55 people were ejected, they said.

It was a chaotic scene just hours before the scheduled 8 p.m. start of the championship match between the two South American countries: Fans forced their way in and jumped over security railings and ran past police officers and stadium attendants, some appearing hysterical as they searched for the people they arrived with.

There appeared to be significant damage to the venue as a result. Video and images posted to social media showed the shattered side railings of an escalator inside the stadium, with shoes, soda cans, reading glasses and articles of clothing left behind. Security railings at a checkpoint in the southwest entrance to the stadium were bent over as thousands of people, including crying children, pushed against them.

The Hard Rock Stadium release said stadium officials communicated with tournament organizers around 8 p.m. and decided to open the gates to both ticketed and unticketed fans who were thrust against the entrance in fear of stampedes and serious injuries. The gates were then closed with many ticketed fans left outside.

The stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, which is home to the NFL’s Dolphins, will be the site of seven World Cup matches in 2026, including a quarterfinal and third-place match.

FIFA organizes the World Cup and is a different organization from CONMEBOL. FIFA is an international federation that oversees more than 200 affiliated associations under regional bodies like CONMEBOL.

Ramon Jesurun is also a member of the FIFA Council.

FIFA did not immediately respond Monday to the AP’s request for comment on the crowd control issues and how it would prevent similar problems in 2026.

Attorney Steve Adelman, a crowd control expert and vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, said Hard Rock organizers failed to understand that Sunday’s game would bring out passionate fans desperate to see their teams, some willing to force their way inside.

“A match between fans of two rival South American nations is about as passionate as you’re going to get,” he said.

Adelman said organizers should have learned from the 2021 Euro Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium, where ticketless England fans forced their way inside for their team’s match with Italy. The melee injured 19 police officers and resulted in 53 arrests. In 1989, 97 people were fatally crushed at a major English match when fans forced their way into the stadium.

“Unfortunately, international football matches have been marked by this sort of aggressive supporter behavior,” Adelman said. “This behavior is not desirable, it’s not good, but it is reasonably foreseeable. ... They needed to plan for the crowd they were likely to have, not the crowd they wished they had.”