VIOLENCE Pancev: The hatred of fan groups brings nothing good

“The hatred of fan groups is not something from yesterday, unfortunately, it has been existing for a long time. As an athlete, I am immune to such insulting chants and I am against that, because sports arenas are made for something else, for something nice, for enjoyment…”, says the Macedonian football legend Darko Pancev in a conversation for CIVIL Media.

In the context of the growing hatred from fan groups, we spoke with Pancev about the violence in stadiums and outside of them, about the troubles and problems during matches, about nationalism and hate speech. Pancev is decisive that there is no place for such problems on the stands or on the fields. He adds that sociologists should deal with certain members of fan groups, that they need to talk with them and explain to them that such things do not bring anything good.

“There are even worse incidents, some suffer, some end up in prison…, at the end everyone loses and it would be nice not to have such incidents in the future”, he stressed.

Pancev is decisive that ethnic affiliation is not always the reason for the incidents and intolerance.

“Here, let’s take Serbia for an example, the incidents there between Crvena Zvesda (Red Star) and Partisan are so frequent that it has nothing to do with ethnic origin, and in Croatia between the fans of Dinamo and Hajduk…Over here, the greatest intolerance between the clubs was between the fans of Vardar and Pelister, and between Sloga and Shkendija…There needs to be more attention in the public about these incidents and TV shows should be made, in order to talk about these things and to reach the goal, which is that incidents and hatred do not bring anything good”, he says.

Darko Pancev

The message of the Macedonian football legend to the fans is for them to come to stadiums primarily to cheer for their clubs, and that they should express their dissatisfaction if there is not a good game, or good results, but that they need to express that dissatisfaction to the management of the club or to the players.

“There is chanting and provocations among clubs everywhere, but it must not go into the sphere of interethnic slogans and hatred, because stadiums are for something nice”, says Pancev.

Pancev highlighted that not a single player wants to hear insulting chanting towards the other club or other ethnic community, because that does not motive the player to play, adding that there is nothing better for the player than to hear his name cheered by thousands of fans, of course, if he had played a good match.

“Athletes are motivated if fans cheer for them, and I was also a player and it meant nothing too me if my fan group chanted against other fans, but when the entire stadium roared ‘go Vardar’, that really did give me motivation.

The conversation with Pancev is part of the project “Patriotism – YES, nationalism – NO!”, which has the goal to contribute towards strengthening coexistence, improving relations with neighbors and towards accelerating Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration processes. The project is supported by the CIVICA Mobilitas program.

Angela Petrovska
Text editing and camera: Dehran Muratov
Editing: Маја Ivanovska

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