The Paradox of World Football

One thing that has always impressed me about World Football is how professional teams’ locker rooms are so multicultural and the players work together in apparent harmony. Take Real Madrid, for example, where you have players from Spain, England, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and Mali. Of course, the players compete with each other for a starting position, but still they appear to “get along”. The same could be said of US professional sports such as baseball, American football and basketball. Over time, fans stop identifying players as being of a certain race or ethnicity and see them only as there heroes.

Thus, when something happens like on Wednesday night when English and Italian fans attacked each other, I am always shocked at how provincial people can be.

The same thing bothered me this past summer during the World Cup Finals (as I have written ad nausea). While celebrating the multiculturalism of the World Cup and how World Football brings people together, no one gave Zidane the benefit of the doubt when he appeared to be insulted by an opposing player. What also bothered me was how none of the Italian players who shared club teams in the past with Zidane seemed to defend him. Where was the multicultural harmony and unity?

And violence is not just caused by international rivalries. It also occurs in inter-city matches, known as derbies. A few months ago in a Betis v. Sevilla match, a Betis fan hurled a bottle at Sevilla’s coach, sending him to the hospital. Of course, people called the act unacceptable. And yet, these types of events frequently occur from Argentina to Europe. After a game in Italy a few months ago, fans attacked and murdered a referee.

Supposedly, World Football is the most popular sport in the world. People across the globe join in mass to watch their favorite teams and players. While the US destroys Iraq, the rest of the world is attacking each other over Football. Go figure. Where is the harmony?

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4 Comments

Filed under Essays, Zizou

4 responses to “The Paradox of World Football

  1. I’ve really tried to leave this one alone, but I can’t.

    You are illuminating the hypocrisy of the World Football stage, and it is more repugnant than if the lack of harmony and unity was just out front.

    From the moment that the Zizou WC incident occurred, I heard nothing but bad mouthing of him, while Materazzi, (pronounced “shiftless scumbag”), seemed to be absolved of any responsibility for his obviously inflammatory, possibly racial, slur of Zizou’s mother.

    Like you, I waited for those who swore loyalty to Zizou, from any of his numerous teams, to show support for this unique human, and world class footballer … it never happened.

    So here’s my take on the situation: I think Europeans, especially in the football arena, are the biggest hypocrites ever. They loved Zizou as the world’s most skilled footballer, loved him on the pitch. But he’s still an Algerian, and it seems likely that a large part of his “hot headedness” on the pitch might have been because he was never accepted or respected as a person because of his ethnicity.

    From a certain perspective, your assault on this issue hasn’t even come close to ad nauseum … because no one seems to have the testicles to face it, as it is.

    You should stay on it, until someone with a spine in Europe decides to give you a better answer, in my opinion. Personally, I salute the effort and find it admirable, at the bare minimum.

  2. eric

    Word.

    As a matter of fact, none of his Real Madrid teammates ever defended him. They only said that he showed have showed more calm.

  3. Not surprising, hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    We’ve both seen the lack of reserve on the parts of almost all European footballers, and Materazzi asked for it, literally begged for it.

    Plus, what were the indications that there was only the singular comment? Italians act like infantile, skillless thugs in almost every match, and running off at the mouth, is, well …
    a very “Italian thing” to do.

    Seems not only hypocrisy, but the ugly face of jealousy as Zizou once again stole the show in his last WC … and would have taken it all save for that one instance.

  4. I know you don’t admire him the way I do, but il Divino, il magia codino, the gifted one has his own website now.

    I decide to put up a permanent calcio thread on my website, for the great footballers. Roby will not be forgotten.

    http://www.robertobaggio.com

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