Tiny insult machines. (Getty)
For years, adults have been seen as the primary threat to football with their violence and greed and sinister ways, but now young children are proving to be a danger far more terrifying than the older, more decrepit generations.
On Tuesday, not one but two stories came out in the press to illustrate the horrors perpetrated by child fans. First, they took advantage of Juventus' decision to let them sit in sections of the stadium normally occupied by ultras for Sunday's 1-0 win over Udinese and mercilessly bullied the opposing goalkeeper throughout the game, resulting in a fine for the club.
The Serie A club let 12,200 children sit at both ends of their stadium for Sunday's match against Udinese but the children behaved little better than the ultras and Juve were fined €5,000 (£4,200) after they shouted abuse at the Udinese keeper Zeljko Brkic every time he took a goal-kick.
"Juventus were fined after their (very, very young) supporters repeatedly aimed an insulting chant at a player from the opposing team," Serie A's disciplinary panel said in a statement. The children were copying a popular ritual in Italian stadiums where the visiting goalkeeper is insulted whenever he takes a goal-kick.
As terrible as that is, it was also revealed Tuesday that children attending Premier League matches are doing something far more dangerous. From the Guardian:
Primary school age children are passing through turnstiles at some of England's most famous football grounds with pyrotechnic devices hidden in bags or concealed beneath clothing. A survey commissioned by the Premier League has revealed that eight-year-olds have been detected serving as "mules", smuggling flares and smoke bombs into games on behalf of older relatives.
Sure, the children will say they're only mules carrying flares for older people, but that just shows how sophisticated of a threat they truly are. It's obvious these kids are making their own flares at home using recipes taught to them by video games like FIFA 14 and Ms. Pac-Man and then bringing them into the grounds with the intent to cause unspeakable amounts of smoke and pretty red lights and blaming their poor older companions when they get caught in the act.
It's clear that if something isn't done soon, children will destroy football.
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