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It may be nicknamed the “beautiful game,” but these days it can sometimes be hard to see soccer as anything but ugly.

As well as all the usual cliches about preening, overpaid prima donnas, there are also the persistent, disturbing bouts of racism and intolerance that continue to blight the sport. In the domestic leagues, countrymen come to blows over geographical divides and historical rivalries in scenes that are closer t>o something you’d find in “Game of Thrones” than “Match of the Day.”

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