The aim of the research is to evaluate crowd violence as it pertains to sports and its spectators. In particular, the research examines sports riots. "A sports riot is defined as violence-vandalism, throwing/shooting missiles, rushing the field or court, committing arson, and/or fighting- committed by five or more individuals in a crowd of one hundred people associated with a formally organized sporting event" (Lewis, 2007). On a micro level, the most prevalent form of spectator violence is the act of Hooliganism in relation to football (soccer). The research on this aggression has been primarily inherent in Europe and South and Central America in concert with soccer matches. One of the goals of the research is to see if this unique type violence has the potential to occur in North America when comparing it to Europe and more specifically the United Kingdom. Currently, the average Major League Soccer (MLS) teams are capturing slightly higher attendance numbers than the NBA and the NHL. In the 2010-11 season, the average MLS attendance was 17,869, compared to 17,319 and 17,126 respectively (ESPN.com, 2011). With the expansion and globalization of the sport when traveling groups from Europe and South/Central America play United States teams (municipalities or the National team) in a "friendly" (exhibition match) or a World Cup qualifiers stateside, it is understood that supporter firms (hooligan gangs) will travel to support their team. Are hooligans simply looking for a violent result under the guise of being football supporters? "It's a lot more widespread than the general public realize. They might hear of one or two big incidences a year. But this thing happens week in week out at different grounds around England" (Hooligans: No one likes us, 2002). Collective behavior is the most apparent theoretic way to view these outbursts. This research however will examine this social phenomenon through symbolic interaction perspective as well.; The hooligan culture is embedded with symbols of social disorder and rebellion. Racism, xenophobia homophobia and even patriotism are the tent poles of this social phenomenon. Additionally, from firm (gang) to firm (gang), socially constructed deviance such as rival history, improper police conduct, the media and alcohol are overarching factors. The final facet of the research examines how to curb the violence. Since Hooliganism is surprisingly tactical in and of itself, how authorities can potentially identify trouble makers and anticipate violence will be assessed. Since the English have customarily been deemed by the international community as some of the worst cohort participants, the tactics that authorities abroad have utilized (successful and otherwise) will be evaluated. Recommendations to prevent and combat this problem will be made in the hopes that a proactive approach can be developed domestically.


If this is your Honors thesis, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu

Thesis Completion





Donley, Amy


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Sociology Commons