Sunday, April 14, 2019

Misogyny is alive and thriving

I recently heard that the best footballer in the world, Ada Hegerberg, has decided not to play in this year's World Cup for her country, Norway, because of what she describes as a lack of respect for women's football in Norway.
How is this not bigger news?
If any of the world's biggest players decided not to go to a World Cup for discrimination in the game, would it not lead to changes in the way the game is managed??? But not in football!
Remember that Ms. Hegerberg is from Norway, a country where women have a higher degree of equality than in other countries. So just think about some of the other countries, where outright discrimination is more or less taken for granted: Colombia, where the football association does not even take care of their female national team; the World Champions of USA, who are grossly underpaid by their male counterparts (who did not even make it to the World Cup); Afghanistan, where players were routinely abused.... And these are just the cases we know about...
Football has long traditions of discrimination for reasons of race, nationality, political allegiance, sexual orientation, and not least gender, where women's football was even prohibited until not long ago, and misogynistic comments are so common as to be institutionalized in the entire game (remember how it was ok to ask Ms, Hegerberg to twerk after winning the Balon d'Or!?). And despite advances over the last decade, all these things show that misogyny is not only alive, but even thrives as male chauvinism reacts against women footballers demand their rightful place alongside men in the world of football. The fact that Ms. Hegerberg has decided to fight against this by not going to the World Cup should send a strong message to the world of football: stop discriminating against the best because of their gender!
The World Cup will be weaker without Ada Hegerberg, but I hope her message resonates in a world of football where discrimination, in all its forms, is the norm, and the football world does so little to combat.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

El Salvador doing well

A few weeks ago someone said to me that they did not trust El Salvador´s national team. "Every country I have ever been in does well in football", I replied. Even though I have not been watching football for six months, and I continue my disillusion with the hate, commercialism and discrimination that football today is (I think it has been amply demonstrated lately, from players tax evasion, attacks on fans, open discrimination against women footballers, to racism against players without UEFA acting on it), I am still confident of the good influence I have on the football karma of the country I am in.
El Salvador is no exception.
Last week El Salvador played Jamaica in match they had to win to qualify to the Gold Cup, and they won 3-1 to qualify for the tournament. A few days later, El Salvador played the World Cup participants of Peru and won 2-0 to everyone's surprise (it appeared most of all to the team itself). I wish El Salvador´s football well. But they will probably fall into the exaggerated and aggressive nationalism that happens to everyone when they win in football. A country that has so much to offer as El Salvador, should care less about how 11 guys kicking a ball do.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The beauty of ignorance

Today someone whom I have spoken with about football in an earlier life asked me: "Have you seen that Real Madrid is down 0-3?"
"Who are they playing?" I asked earnestly.
He laughed, thinking that I was joking, and after a moment of hesitation I said something brilliant: "Well, they ain't been playing well since Ronaldo left".
He smiled and replied that indeed, this was not the same Madrid as last season.
I don't think he ever realized that I could care less, and that I have in fact not looked at the standings of any league since last year.
But I was curious: I see that Barcelona defeated Real Madrid to make it to the Copa de Rey Final, and that the Catalans are also leading the League nine points ahead of Real Madrid on third place (one behind Atletico Madrid).
Now, did this curiosity awake any desire to again take up the old passion that meant so much to me? Nope. As I looked at the table I was reminded of all the insults, abuses, excuses, reprimands, blame-games, schadenfreude and outright hate springing out from these results.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Club de Cuervos

I have not watched a match for months nor followed any footballing news (well, some news that basically show the real face of football) but I have to mention that recently I started to watch the Mexican comedy series on Netflix, Club de Cuervos, which is about a provincial football team in the Mexican top league, Los Cuervos, after the owner dies and his children take over the club. The show is hilarious, taking the piss out of the many hypocrisies of football, as well having many funny lines. If anything, it is much more entertaining than real football, and surely not as choreographed or full as hate as the real thing. I recommend it.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Copa Libertadores final of hate

The Copa Libertadores Final in Buenos Aires between arch-rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors had to be postponed today because of River Plates' fans vicious attack against the Boca Juniors bus, which not only left Boca players with minor injuries, but worse, very scared.
Nobody deserves to be in such a situation.
The whole thing was a disgrace not only to Argentina, but also to the rest of South America.
The match has been lauded as one of the most awaited matches of the century as the rivalry is perhaps the most intense in world football. I am sorry to say this, but Boca-River is not a question of friendly competition (not a single fan of either team understands this concept), even for people who outside football would be friends, family or lovers.
Following the cancellation the club presidents were quick accusing 10-15 "impresentables" who were to blame for the whole incident. Besides the fact that you can see much more than 15 guys on the TV pictures, this is not really true!
I do not feel sorry for a single of the 65000 fans inside the stadium who were unable to see the match. They were as guilty as the millions of River and Boca fans who are in fact intellectual authors of the crime; the vast majority of fans may not throw the stones, but were surely applauding.
The problem is football itself which creates these divisions!
Argentina is not the only place this happens, but today's events are just an extreme example. And football managers have no interest in solving it! They are the ones benefiting from this! They will say that football is "peace and friendly competition" but will at the same time be pouring gasoline on the fire of fierce rivalry, because it benefits them, and also takes the view away from society's wider problems.
"Blame society. We have nothing to do with it".
Football is hate. Prove me wrong.