Comfort or Conflict?: Investigating the Attitude and Experiences of European Football Fans in Television Viewing Centers in Nigeria
Evidence has shown that there is a considerable number of studies conducted on European football viewership in viewing centers in developing countries, yet, studies that focused on the social and psychological implication of European football viewership, especially on the aspect of peace and conflict, are still in their developing stage. In this view, this present study fills this gap by exploring the attitudes and experiences of European football fans in Television (TV) viewing centers in Nigeria, to establish if these acts provide leisure, escapism, comfort, integration of diverse people, or a source of conflict among fans and the society. A Qualitative research approach based on participant observation and in-depth interview were adopted in this study. Three viewing centers were observed within 10th September to 1st October 2016 during the English, Spanish and UEFA Champions League matches involving Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona football clubs. Six (6) European football fans and three managers of football viewing centres were interviewed. Findings revealed that European football has the ability to break religious, language, ethnic and political barriers prevalent among Nigerians and bring people together, but it could also lead to argument and conflicts if not properly managed. It was also established that fans in viewing centers attached with beer parlors exhibit more violent tendencies in their argument than those in non-beer parlor centers. Interestingly, arguments among fans in the selected viewing centers do not often lead to physical confrontation; however, fans suffer from intra-personal conflicts, such as bitterness due to defeats of their clubs and mockery from other fans.
Dogari KA, Apuke OD and Shadrach I