How do you get the punters to come to your matches when you’re Lewes F.C. and playing in the Isthmian League (Premier Division), six levels below the Premier League? Lure them with brilliant match day posters like the one above. It helps when you have perhaps the greatest ground name in English football: the Dripping Pan.
Anti-racism campaigners praised Boateng’s decision to walk off. Piara Powar, the executive director of the European anti-discrimination group Fare, said: “We salute Kevin-Prince Boateng for his actions and his team-mates for their support. This is the not the first time a player has walked off in Italy – if the situation continues it may not be the last. Italy, as much as any country in Europe, has a serious problem of racism to deal with. Football infrastructure is in need of renewal and at serious odds with the changing nature of Italian society. We look forward to strong action by the FIGC [Italian FA].”
Racism in football all over Europe is still an underreported problem. In many countries it’s much less than it used to be in the seventies and eighties, but it’s still present and needs to be dealt much more firmly with.
Yet moments after the players started shaking hands with the three volunteer officials, Nieuwenhuizen was knocked to the floor, then punched and kicked in the head by several of the Nieuw-Sloten team. Parents immediately ran on to the pitch to try to defuse the situation and get some control. Nieuwenhuizen eventually got back to his feet but he was knocked to the floor for a second time. Witnesses report that one of the Nieuw-Sloten players then took off his shirt, presumably to make it harder for him to be identified, before kicking Nieuwenhuizen while he was on the ground and then running off. Mykel, Nieuwenhuizen’s son, saw everything.
As the article makes clear, the case has become a rorschach blotch for every Dutch anxiety about modern society: racial tension, lack of respect for authorities, youth gone wild, etc. The victim was a white man, a linesman from Almere, the perpetrators allegedly are Moroccan boys from one of the Amsterdam districts with a high level of Dutch-Moroccans. Mix that in with the fact that the victim was a linesman, an authority figure, when there has been a string of horrible assaults of authority figures — police officers, first aid workers, ticket inspectors — in the last few years and you got an incident that was tailor made for Geert Wilders to exploit. Which he promptly did, but which fortunately hasn’t gained much traction
A tragedy such as this of course needs to be taken seriously, though I do think it’s easy to overreact to it as a country or a sport. The vast majority of football fans and players at all levels of Dutch football are decent people and to make great moral judgments out of one incident, no matter how tragic, seems wrong.
The 2014 under-21 European Championships are supposed to be held in Israel, which is a bit awkward considering it just destroyed a football stadium as a novel new way of expressing its displeasure with the Palestinians. Sport, like art, is of course important to the well being of any peoples and it’s no wonder then that Israel regularly targets both.
We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom. The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world’s conscience.
We are informed that on 10 November 2012 the Israeli army bombed a sports stadium in Gaza, resulting in the death of four young people playing football, Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara, 16 and 17 years old; Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi, 18 years old.
We are also informed that since February 2012 two footballers with the club Al Amari, Omar Rowis, 23, and Mohammed Nemer, 22, have been detained in Israel without charge or trial.
It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football. Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, in these circumstances, will be seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values.
Despite the recent ceasefire, Palestinians are still forced to endure a desperate existence under occupation, they must be protected by the international community. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security. We hope that a just settlement will finally emerge.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Networks has taken a 51% controlling interest in tv channel Eredivisie Live which broadcasts premier league matches, say press reports on Wednesday.
The deal, worth €1bn over 12 years and due to begin in the 2013-2014 season, was unanimously agreed by the 18 clubs involved and the football association KNVB.
Fox is paying €960m to show the games and taking over the €60m in debt of Eredivisie Live.
Eredivisie Live was set up a few years ago by the Eredivisie clubs as a pay channel for their matches, after earlier attempts to commercialise football broadcasts all failed. It’s been doing soso over the years, not nearly making as much money for the clubs as they expected. There’s also the competition of Sport1, which shows mostly foreign football — Premiership, Bundesliga undsoweiter, which hasn’t helped. With the entry of Murdoch/Sky in the Dutch market, there are likely going to be massive changes to football broadcasting; they’re certainly much more professional in their methods to wring the most money out of it.
Whether that’s good for us football fans is another matter entirely; first reactions are mainly worried about whether the public broadcaster here can keep the traditional highlight programme on Sunday evening. More money for football is a good thing, but Holland is still a small market and not that attractive for foreign rebroadcasting, surely. It may mean, as in England that football will be further priced out of reach of the ordinary fan.
It is genuinely ennobling, this belief in the basic sanctity of the managerial mission. “We must build on Harry’s great work,” Villas-Boas said this week, bestowing an unexpected gravity on the legacy of a manager who has traditionally been a kind of footballing Cat in the Hat, a tousled and infectious improviser who could probably cook you the most brilliant meal you’ve ever tasted simply by hurling everything in the fridge into a massive bowl and then flambéing it over a raging fire built from every stick of furniture you own, before abruptly disappearing just as you come round, dazed and hungover, face down in the ashes of what was once your kitchen.
This is the soccer player Mario Balotelli, a very talented and I’d say charismatic player — I know who he is, and I get lost with those guys all the time — who plays in the Premier League for current champions Manchester City and is part of the Italy team currently playing (last I checked) in the Euro 2012 tournament. As one of the spokespeople quoted mentions, his being on the Italian team at all is a big deal, and symbolic, and encouraging for a lot of people, which makes this depiction a bit tragic, really. The usual course of dialogue is taken, it looks like, which makes me think we need a new way to talk about this kind of thing. I wish there a way to cop to the ugliness of depicting someone in that matter that didn’t turn on there not being a machine out there that lets us know what’s in someone’s heart. I don’t see that happening any time soon, though.
You can’t really say much about situations like this. A cartoon is published with, deliberate or accidental racist (or sexist) overtones, people point out that “dude, that’s a bit racist”, cartoonist or newspaper either gets defensive and deny the charges, or get defensive but apologise, people rant about it all on the internet. I’m not sure there is a new way to talk about it, even using Jay smooth’s advice on how to tell people they sound racist, people and institutions both will still get defensive. But it might be interesting to take a stab at how this cartoon was created.
The first thing to remember that this comes from an Italian newspaper and though it may be hard to believe, there is a far greater awareness of racism and racist tropes in America (and to a lesser extent, Britain), than there is in continental Europe. Sure, there are plenty of people who hold ghetto parties with no idea that these are incredibly racist, but there is at least some awareness of what would make for an offensive cartoon; there are also more people willing to complain about it. In short, Americans have been more educated to spot these racist tropes and be offended by them.
Meanwhile, Mario Balotelli is somewhat of a loose cannon. A brilliant strike when wants to be, as witnessed by his performance against Germany tonight, he can also do things like throw darts to his teammates, set fire to his bathroom or wear an A. C. Milan shirt on telly when playing for Inter, somewhat like wearing a Yankees Jersey in Boston, only worse. He’s a great, instinctive football player, but seems to lack smarts some of the time. Which is of course somewhat of a stereotype for talented Black players in any sport, that idea it’s all instinct or innate physical and athletic ability, rather than hard work and intelligence that makes them great.
In any case, the combination makes Balotelli an easy target for jokes at his expense, especially as he often looks a bit of a beleagured figure, wondering “why always me”. So I can see where the King Kong idea comes from: the noble, misunderstood giant harassed by, in this cases, flying footballs. It’s a nice cartoon, if not for the simple fact that equating a Black football player with a giant ape is just a little bit racist. That’s something an American cartoonist would’ve recognised earlier.