Fiction, facts and a summer's fairy tale - mixed messages at the World Cup 2006, Policing & Society, 2010



The FIFA World Championships 2006 in Germany have been praised for their positive atmosphere and described as a 'fairy tale'. Yet, more than 9000 persons were arrested. This paper presents an analysis of police tactics and deployments and their relation to the frequency of incidents and the group relations between fans and between fans and police. Data collection was carried out within three host cities in North Rhine-Westphalia in relation to 10 games of the tournament, drawing on a combination of structured and qualitative observational methods. The outcomes are mixed. Group relations were mostly positive, indicated by positive interaction between fan groups; however, frequency of incidents and arrests suggest that the tournament was not as peaceful as the media coverage may have implied. Deeper analyses suggest that legitimate group relations and positive fan behaviour were associated with differentiated policing, carried out in relation to the situational context and the actual risk present.

Martina Schreiber & Otto Adang in: Policing and Society, Volume 20, Issue 2 June 2010, pages 237 - 255