2013: A championship match between Brazilian soccer clubs Atletico Paranese and Vasco de Gama took a brutal turn when tension between fans on opposing sides gave way to violence in the stands of a stadium in Joinville, Brazil. ESPN reports:
Supporters of Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama charged against each other. Groups of fans punched and kicked each other until police arrived and fired rubber bullets to contain the situation. A doctor said two other fans had been taken to hospital in a serious condition, while another was treated for a minor injury at the stadium with a helicopter having to land on the pitch to airlift one seriously injured man to hospital.
"This is deplorable," Vasco da Gama manager Adilson Batista said. "It's sad to see images like these just before the World Cup in our country. I'm shocked -- this is not sport."
532: The dangers inherent in the gathering of crowds were manifest in imperial Constantinople, where that city's Hippodrome race track stood at the center of the city's social, sporting, and political scene—affording citizens a proximity to emperor to petition him or vent dissatisfaction. The stands were dominated by the Blues and the Greens, rival associations of rabid racing fans, who backed their chosen chariot teams with blood. Riots were commonplace. The historian Procopius writes of the ugly rivalry in The Wars of Justinian:
In every city the population has been divided for a long time past into the Blue and the Green factions; but within comparatively recent times it has come about that, for the sake of these names and the seats which the rival factions occupy in watching the games, they spend their money and abandon their bodies to the most cruel tortures, and even do not think it unworthy to die a most shameful death. And they fight against their opponents knowing not for what end they imperil themselves, but knowing well that, even if they overcome their enemy the fight, the conclusion of the matter for them will be to be carried off straight away to the prison, and finally, after suffering extreme torture, to be destroyed.
So there grows up in them against their fellow men a hostility which has no cause, and at no time does it cease or disappear, for it gives place neither to the ties of marriage nor of relationship nor of friendship, and the case is the same even though those who differ with respect to these colours be brothers or any other kin. I, for my part, am unable to call this anything except a disease of the soul.
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