1/14/2021 - East Sparta, OH
As we watched the opening night of the NHL from The Janitor's living room, the Flyers pulling away from the Penguins sparked a good old-fashioned session of sharing stories around the sports world, new and old. One fascinating story that surfaced was the threat of a Romanian Soccer's 4th Division club chairman of Steaua Nicolae Balcescu to install a moat filled with crocodiles around the field to keep rowdy fans off the pitch. And you thought American fans were bad?
According to the Irish Examiner (2003), "Fourth division Steaua Nicolae Balcescu have been threatened with expulsion from the league after repeated pitch invasions and violent outbreaks. Worried bosses think a moat, stocked with fully-grown hungry crocodiles, would be the only way to keep their fans off the pitch" (para. 2,3)"
Local authorities would consider the proposal but would later deny the team.
Romania is not the only country to explore this option, surprisingly. In Argentina, the Boca Juniors have such violence in the stands that they, too, considered a moat. The only differences? First, they actually installed one but no crocodiles are swimming in it. Secondly, according to The Baltimore Sun (2001), "The soccer field is surrounded by a moat, a concrete wall topped by iron spikes and several snarling German shepherd guard dogs" (para. 1).
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The Baltimore Sun article would go on to tell of the strict frisking policy for fans entering the stadium, surely a result of prior gang violence in the stands in seasons past. This is the scene outside the stadium (Marx, 2001), "Outside the stadium, a water cannon mounted on an armored personnel carrier stands ready, along with dozens of armed police with tear gas. Many police wear riot gear and some are on horseback" (para. 4).
Perhaps Argentina should start mimicking Paraguay fans (just kidding, see below), this is how they celebrate a goal.......
What the hell.Female football fan in Argentina caught live in stadium while sniffing cocaine pic.twitter.com/Sf5z7RNB1E
Main Article Photo Credit: Photo on Visualhunt.com
Irish Examiner (2003). Club plans croc-filled moat to control hooligans. Irish Examiner. Retrieved from https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/soccer/arid-30082836.html
Marx, G (2001). Soccer Argentine-style: serious on the field, deadly in the stands. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1991-03-24-1991083107-story.html