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England's unruly soccer fans, whose violence has caused their
nation's teams to be banned indefinitely from major European
competition (SI, June 10, 1985, et seq.), shamed themselves again
last week. About 120 of them fought with knives and bottles on a
North Sea ferry while traveling to Holland to watch preseason matches
involving teams from Manchester, Everton and West Ham. Five fans were
seriously hurt and 14 arrested. Most of those involved had been
drinking in the ship's tax-free bars.
English Football Association secretary Ted Croker called the
incident ''a minor disaster'' that could set back for years England's
hopes of reinstatement. Yet just three days later, rampaging
Manchester fans in Amsterdam attacked a policewoman and trashed two
restaurants and a tram. Ironically, the exhibitions in Holland were
low-key practice games. The British term for them is