Fans of two Welsh soccer teams clashed in 15 minutes of raucous brawling at a horse racetrack in southern England on Saturday, violence that was caught on video and posted on YouTube.
Around 30 supporters of fierce rivals Cardiff City Football Club and Swansea City Football Club fought running battles on the grounds of Newbury Racecourse in Newbury, Berkshire, 62 miles west of London. The havoc marred the normally peaceful Newbury Summer Festival, an annual racing-centered event.
WalesOnline reports that despite the alarming scale of the violence, only three people were arrested. Thames Valley police said it was unclear why the two groups of rival fans fought. Racetrack officials were also in the dark about what started the brawl.
"We have absolutely no idea why it started," managing director Stephen Higgins told WalesOnline.
Cardiff City and Swansea City are bitter soccer foes, and their rivalry ranks among the fiercest in the sporting universe. The animosity has only increased since Swansea was promoted to the Barclay's Premier League, the pinnacle of British soccer, following a stellar 2010-2011 campaign in the npower Football League Championship. Cardiff faltered that season and remained in the second-tier Championship, a position the team will occupy yet again in 2012-2013 after failing to play well enough to earn a promotion to the Premiership.
In recent decades, the 100-year rivalry between the two teams has grown increasingly violent. Cardiff's Soul Crew, a notoriously riotous band of hooligans, was once so vicious that riot police have been employed to contain them. Although the brutality has waned considerably in recent years, Soul Crew's own website admits "a trip to Cardiff can still be a bit fruity if you come looking for it."
Swansea supporters have also engaged in their fair share of violence. At the infamous 'Battle of Ninian Park' in 1993, Cardiff fans stormed the pitch after going up 1-0. Swansea fans responded by tearing seats from the grandstand and hurling them at Cardiff supporters. And in one particularly embarrassing (for Cardiff, anyway) affair in 1988, victorious Swansea fans literally chased defeated Cardiff supporters into the sea in a double dose of humiliation. This incident is celebrated among Swansea backers, who taunt Cardiff fans with chants of "swim away, swim away" to this very day.