The Football and Society Podcast

Are football chants naturalising violence in Argentina?

Listen on

Episode notes

Accounts of violence in Argentinian football run all the way back to the late 19th century, and violence still plagues domestic football today. In a study exploring the predominance of such violent behaviour, William Huddleston writes that ‘Violence has always gone hand in hand with football in Argentina’.

Today William joins us to discuss his study exploring chants sung by fans of River Plate, one of the most storied clubs in South America. 

Whilst violence in football is not unique to Argentina, the scale of the problem there is quite astounding: between 5 and 10 people have died from football-related violence every year for the last 25 years, with an average of 9 deaths a year over the past decade. Despite this, there is little understanding of the phenomenon in popular discourse. William’s research drew on over 250 River Plate chants and identified some recurring themes and concepts, with a particular focus on violence, honour, and masculinity. He writes that ‘supporters’ chants reflect and confect a hegemonic form of masculinity which encourages and rewards violence, the acceptance of pain and the forceful emasculation of other men’.

  • To what extent have players themselves, or the clubs they represent and that are idolised by fans, sought to de-escalate violence?
  • Is football violence over-studied?
  • What is the model of club ownership in Argentina to what extent do club owners have any relationship with those fans involved in violence?

...all this and more in our latest episode


If you enjoy the podcast, please follow us on social media at and leave us a five star review - it helps others discover the show!