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Pirates, Punks & Politics, FC St. Pauli: Falling in Love With a Radical Football Club By Nick Davidson Sports Books, 2014 251 pp., $16.50 I must admit that I don’t know one end of a soccer ball from another, but having read this book I don’t care. I’m now passionately interested in this extraordinary German football club, FC St Pauli, with its skull-and-cross-bones emblem.
All it took was a recording of Donald Sterling insulting Magic Johnson in a derogatory manner for the 24-hour news world to stop on its axis. Now imagine if Donald Sterling ― in all of his paranoid, racist fervour ― had an army at his disposal and bombed Magic Johnson in his home, killing him in his sleep. If such a scenario sounds like hacky Phillip K Dick fan fiction as written by Mike Lupica, then you have not been paying attention to the dystopian, genocidal panorama in Gaza, where no one is safe. You are unfamiliar with the name Ahed Zaqout.
When the Palestinian national football (soccer) team secured entry into the 2015 Asia Cup to be played next January in Australia, it won the right to play in an international tournament for the first time in its 86-year history. Crowds gathered by the hundreds on the beaches in Gaza to dance, play music and watch the triumph of their national team on large movie-sized television screens on the beaches.
Ireland: Sports fans fly flags for Gaza Dublin Gaelic Athletics Association fans unfurled a huge banner reading “Free Gaza” during the Leinster Senior Football Final on July 20, while Palestinian flags were flown by crowds at other sporting events across the country.
British Prime Minister David Cameron may want a politics-free Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but campaigners have railed against sponsors’ links to deaths and human rights abuses at home and abroad. The Tory PM told business leaders on a jaunt to Glasgow University on July 23 that he wanted to steer clear of politics as the clock wound down to the games opening ceremony. A crowd of protesters thronged outside the university library where he spoke, with picketers ranging from the Radical Independence Coalition to Our People’s National Health Service.
Brazil's Dance With the Devil Dave Zirin Haymarket Books, 2014 200 pages, US$16 With World Cup fever sweeping the world, mainstream media outlets faced a problem: how to relate to the fierce political battle taking place on the streets of Brazil over the future of their society. The media has been flooded with idealised caricatures of Brazilian society, complete with pristine white-sand beaches, a hypersexual citizenry and a rich, happy tapestry of cultural diversity.
Players in Algeria's national football team have announced that they plan to put prize money earned in the World Cup to good use, BleacherReport.com said on July 2. Striker Islam Slimani said the entire squad would donate the earnings to the people of embattled Gaza, saying “They need it more than us”.
When I was in Brazil for those first days of the World Cup, I was ― with many other journalists ― tear gassed by military police. I saw sleek, urban-outfitted tanks in the streets and I felt concussion grenades send subsonic shrapnel crashing into my eardrums. I didn’t see the drones flying overhead, but then again, no one without a Hubble telescope is supposed to see the drones.
“FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Argentinian Football Association,” The Guardian said on June 14, after Argentinian players displayed a banner before a June 8 friendly against Slovenia insisting the Malvinas (known as the Falkland Islands in Britain) belonged to Argentina.
Even if you have no interest in football and have never watched a single game before now, this is the time to accept that all of us, including you, should hate Sepp Blatter. Partly this is because recent investigations, which have taken years to complete, show that he's repulsive. He may have responded with a statement that “I completely deny I am in any way repulsive”, but the evidence is overwhelming, with further reports set to disclose staggering global levels of repulsion he can't ignore.

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