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.