High and highly bonded: Fused football fans who use cocaine are most likely to be aggressive toward rivals

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Jul;93:103263. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103263. Epub 2021 May 4.


Background: Cocaine use among British football fans has yet to be quantified, despite its association with football-related aggression by the media. Identity fusion, a potent form of social bonding, is a well-established predictor of fan violence, which has never been investigated in relation to stimulant use.

Methods: British football fans (n = 1486) completed a self-selected online survey about how bonded they were to their club and fellow fans, their cocaine use, and aggressive behavior toward rival fans over the prior 12-months.

Results: Fans reported more cocaine use than the national average (6.19%). Of fans who attended stadia matches, 1.08% had used cocaine in stadia, and 30.05% had witnessed other fans take cocaine at matches. Fans who used cocaine reported significantly more aggression toward rivals than fans who did not. Cocaine and identity fusion significantly interacted, such that highly 'fused' cocaine users were especially likely to have behaved aggressively toward their rivals. Men were more fused and more aggressive than women.

Conclusion: Football mirrors wider society, be it in social issues or drug use. The widespread availability of cheap but high purity cocaine may be associated with fan aggression, especially among fans who are highly bonded to their clubs and fellow fans.

Keywords: Aggression; Cocaine; Football fans; Identity fusion; Intergroup violence; Social bonding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Cocaine*
  • Female
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Soccer*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cocaine