My friends and I used to sit right in front of the control room in UMak Grandstand during UFL matches. Doing so is our way of saying that we are more for Football than particular teams. Besides, we are a bunch of people rooting for different UFL teams who would prefer to be together. But we haven't done that lately, sitting in front of the control room that is. As people with respect for everyone, opponent or not, we have nothing against the people who usually come first before us.
We now occupy the seats in front of the control room's door. Even so, we still get to witness the on and off pitch moments whenever there is a UFL match. Sometimes, most "moments" of the match even come from the side of the grandstand near us.
And who has forgotten the match between Loyola Meralco Sparks and Philippine Air Force Phoenix a couple of weeks ago?
Who has forgotten the behaviour displayed by some PAF fans? Of course, we do know that those particular fans did not represent the Club nor the majority of PAF FC's fans. Some Air Force fans were even shocked and disappointed for the rowdy behaviour.
Men whose face were hidden by shirts held posters in hands while running half way through from where most Air Force fans and families were right in front of the nearest Loyola fans and families. Those men were screaming words, which I could not remember, in front of the female fans of Loyola Meralco Sparks.
It was a good thing that UFL Asst. Technical Director Ritchie Gannaban kept those rowdy men from doing further abuse by being the "barrier" between the Loyola and rowdy masked Air Force fans. It was also a good thing that those fans yielded to Gannaban's authority. The week after that match, no more rowdiness was witnessed in UMak. That's a good progress.
We do understand when people get passionate with football, but there are reasonable ways of expressing such passion without making other fans feel threathened and/or disrespected. Surely, there are ways and better ones to do that.
Today will be another gameday for Philippine Air Force Phoenix. We do expect those fans to be more behaved, but it may happen again in a different time and a different place. Some people are considering to have some guidelines on how a fan should behave.
FIFA promotes respect. UFL promotes respect. I believe fans should carry on this campaign to keep stadiums and pitches a fun and safe place to watch the beautiful game.
Unnecessary banters, calling players with nasty names, shouting at players and even fans do not show respect. There may be times when we just can’t help but remind the referees that they’re making some wrong mistakes but there are acceptable times for that. But to do so like in every game should be ground for Yellow Card, figuratively speaking of course. Or we may have it for fun.
The point is respect. Anything we publicly say and do beyond that can fall into verbal abuse and/or any legal complaint.