All In The Game…
The supporters of Club Africain had displayed a banner for a match against Paris Saint-Germain on January 4, 2017, which read: “Created by the Poor, Stolen by the Rich.” The statement represents a concise summary of the History of Football, born in its modern form in 19th Century Britain among the industrial working class. Indeed, football has become the property of big clubs in the 21st Century. It seems that the Tunisian football fans staged a protest against this development through that banner four years ago.
That revolutionary statement has started haunting Europe, yet again! Many, including Leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, have expressed similar feeling soon after a dozen of the most famous (and richest) European football clubs recently hinted that they would team up to form a new League. As permanent members, those clubs would enjoy the opportunity to play all the matches without playing any qualifiers! Currently, everyone gets a chance to compete in Europe’s best tournaments, such as the Champions League or the English Premier League (EPL), on the basis of their performance. Hence, poor clubs often surprise sports-lovers by winning major championship or league titles. Sometimes, big clubs do not qualify for prestigious tournaments. They no longer desire to accept this uncertainty and fear of (monetary) loss. So, the proposed League is nothing, but a strategy to make money! According to experts, the current wave of Ultra-Right-Wing Politics is not only influencing the Global Geopolitics, but is also reflected in football.
It seems that the wishes of those in power are yet to be fulfilled. Incidentally, protests have erupted against them shortly after the announcement of their commercial strategy. Most importantly, the supporters of those 12 clubs are staging protests! Hopefully, members of all sections of the society, from politicians to common people, have joined the protest, prompting the club officials to reconsider their plan. Perhaps, they will come up with a new strategy, soon. However, their defeat and retreat is very important for both football and the society at this stage.
Football is a pluralistic sport, in a true sense. People love football mainly because of its ability to surprise fans. Cameroon and Senegal’s World Cup victories over Argentina and France, respectively, are still fresh in the memory of football fans. The level of equality that still exists in European football is not because of the sense of morality, but due to the excellence of the game. Football survives because of its ability to entertain the spectators, and not because of its strength to make profits. Open and fair opportunity to compete inspires players to perform their best on the field. If the game is to be kept alive, then open competition is a must. The very existence of football depends on fans’ love and affection for the game, and that is the treasure of this sport.
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