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There is still logic, thank God

There is still logic, thank God

In 1958, during the UEFA Congress, Italian Federation President Otorino Barassi opposed the creation of the European Championship. He believed that the Europeans might not stand the tension and that the fighting would not be confined to the field. He said the tournament could awaken patriotic feelings. Some might say that the Italian is exaggerating. But there are some things to keep in mind. First, Brassi protested only 13 years after the end of World War II – the most terrible conflict in the history of Europe and the world. It was this man who, during the turmoil of the war, kept the Nike Gold Cup, an award for world football champions, under his bed in a shoebox. El-Barassi did not want to fall into the hands of the Germans. And secondly – wasn’t he a little bit right? Already in 1960, during the first Euro, there was a political scene between Spain, ruled by General Franco, and the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. The two teams fought in the quarter-finals and the Spaniards lost the match. The Soviet Union won the entire championship.

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It’s been more than 60 years. Nobody loses matches for political reasons, although there are more and more votes about boycotting certain events. Political divisions are visible to the naked eye. It was said that politics should not be mixed with sports. It’s cliched. Politics has been around for decades in sports. Quickly and without question “Uncle Google”: the Olympics in Moscow boycotted by the West, or “Table tennis diplomacy”. For the stubborn war, you can add the famous “football war” between Honduras and El Salvador, but it’s really a massive simplification and this conflict didn’t explode through the ball. Or at least not fundamentally.

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Expectations versus reality

Euro 2020 is a romantic vision hosted by several countries from every region of Europe. It was meant to be a pan-European festival, highlighting what we have in common. Wow the theory. And practically? The author of this vision, Michel Platini, was disqualified for eight years in 2015 (the penalty was later reduced to four) for receiving two million Swiss francs under mysterious circumstances from Joseph Blatter, then-FIFA president. Today, the English newspaper The Times wonders what we Europeans really have in common. And he came to the conclusion that after years of religious wars, and struggles between forces that make imperial plans, after clashes between fascist and communist ideology, and then communism and capitalism, there are fewer and fewer of these things, and we only have Eurovision and football. But you can argue with that, too. In 2014, shortly after the Crimean crisis, Russian actors at Eurovision were booed several times. And the vote also looks like this for an unpopular neighbor, you will not spend a few zlotys on texting, although he sang well.

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Football reminds us how important national identity is. John Williams, professor of sociology at the University of Leicester, tells The Times that it reminds us of the limits of globalization and that we have a deep sense of our roots for who we are thanks to our national heritage. Unfortunately, a sense of identity is often manifested in hatred of other nationalities.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was done like the English who brought a song to the stadiums: “two world wars and one world cup”. It is a reference to two world conflicts in which the British won the war against Germany. The “One World Cup” is a reference to the 1966 World Cup final in which the English defeated West Germany. Worse still, it is similar to the case of Marko Arnautovic. “P … your Albanian mother” – this is how the Austrian of Serbian descent was supposed to say to his North Macedonian rival Exan Alius. The Austrian was suspended and said he was not racist and wanted to set an example for young people. In the last match of the group stage with Ukraine, he will play from the first minute.

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struggle over conflict

Euro 2020 is a reflection of the rivalries between countries that have grown over the centuries. Ukraine introduced state-scheme T-shirts with Crimea as part of the state, despite its annexation by Russia in 2014. The T-shirts also bear national mottos (“Glory to Ukraine! Fame to the heroes!”), which are used today as a military salute, and are due Its roots are in anti-Soviet sentiment in Ukraine for a long time. The Russians are angry and describe this measure as a “political provocation.” The European Football Association (UEFA) ordered the Ukrainians to remove their passwords, but they did not give up. As a result, it was difficult to get the appearance of the Ukrainian national team at one point, because it was pervasive among the fans like hot cakes.

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In the United Kingdom, which used to colonize most of the world, there is an ongoing debate about kneeling before matches. During a sparring match, English footballers were booed during this anti-racism gesture. There was more applause at Wembley before the game against Croatia, although there was a lot of buzz. There was plenty of it during the second game, because the English played the Scots and – in the opinion of the hosts’ fans – it was a pity to miss the chance to boo their anthem. The Germans did the same with the French anthem. And in Munich, a Greenpeace activist who protested concern about cars landed on the field. He was very lucky that no one was seriously hurt, because he was close to him.

The whole world was watching – this is an economic battleground – as in the pre-match conference against Hungary, Cristiano Ronaldo lays down Coca-Cola bottles and shows everyone the water as it should be drunk. In addition, it looked very disgusting. Effect? Coca-Cola lost $4 billion on the stock exchange. It is unlikely that company bosses will keep their fingers crossed for Portugal or Juventus. In turn, Paul Pogba put a bottle of Heineken for religious reasons – as a Muslim he did not want to advertise alcohol. Ultimately, UEFA decided to curb this type of behavior and threatened penalties if players continued to act against the interests of tournament sponsors.

The fight for the rainbow

Currently, Hungary is at the center of political wars. Even before the tournament, Viktor Orban proudly declared that the Hungarians, unlike the English, intended only to kneel before God or ask their beloved to marry him. Hungarians are showing off an entire stadium in Budapest in Europe, which heralds an imminent victory in the fight against the pandemic. A few days ago, there were rumors about moving the final of the European Championship there, because, according to the European Union, the British restrictions are very strict. Orban certainly cares about his country’s positive public relations. Full stands, ambitious game play for two players and subsequent easing of restrictions work in his favour.

On 8/12/2019, the rainbow captain's armband is worn on the arm of Newcastle United captain Jongo Shelvey during a Premier League match against Southampton.The Football Association banned rainbow teams. “what the hell?”

But in parallel, his country has just passed a law banning “LGBT” propaganda in schools. This is to protect minors from child sexual abuse, which – according to the law itself – will be severely punished by Hungarians. The opposition strongly criticized the law for equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Moreover, according to politicians, this right is a copy of the 2013 Russian law. On the same day, Hungarian fans flagged letters to the LGBT community on the stands. UEFA is investigating, and the Hungarian penalty kick will probably not be missed.

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At the same time, there were proceedings against Manuel Neuer, who entered the field with the rainbow troupe on the occasion of “Pride Month”. UEFA decided it would not sanction the goalkeeper by claiming that “the symbol was used for a just cause”, although Neuer theoretically broke the rules by not wearing the standard captain’s armband. Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter has asked UEFA for approval to ensure the entire Bayern stadium, where Germany will play Hungary, will be lit up in rainbow colors in a gesture of solidarity with LGBT people. But according to UEFA, this bridge is very far. “The European headquarters was considered a political gesture. The decision was welcomed in Hungary.” Thank God, there is still common sense, ”said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Germany. He will not give up, and it is likely that the stadium will be colored in rainbow colors anyway, but in a different way, it is possible that the rainbow flags distributed by the German Confederation will appear on the stands.

Like in the cold war

For Western European countries, the European Union was a means of overcoming nationalism after the war. But for eastern nations, nationalism has been a vehicle for entrenchment after decades of Soviet occupation, says Benjamin Haddad of the Atlantic Council, a US nongovernmental advisory committee that “researches today’s most pressing problems in politics, economics, and technology.” times.

The English kneel, the Germans play with rainbow teams at Rainbow Stadium (if applicable). But the Poles, Hungarians and Russians are not. Division into east and west. Is this what El-Barassi was afraid of?

Then in 1958, French sports activist Henri Delaunay opposed it, claiming that “the mosaic of European countries needed an outlet for mathematical expression”. “We cannot continue to live in an atmosphere of routine and antiquity,” the French claimed. Today, football players from 24 countries compete for the trophy that bears his name. It seems that the predictions of both gentlemen came true in some way.

“Football shame”, “So funny”. The world media has no mercy

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