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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Power of Grassroots

Not entirely sure I can say what The Economist is truly on about here. But, clearly, when that mag starts talking about football and big money, bringing in fancy stats and data, you know the business side of the world game is getting more and more prominent.
This piece in These Football Times also picks up on the increasingly powerful commercial trends in football and details the activities of Red Bull as it levers its way into European high level football - and elsewhere.
We all know its there and since at least the beginning of the EPL in 1992,  football money has gone stratospheric.
My concern is this. While the money players earn and corporations can take out of the game is a problem, the bigger problem is how the money skews the game away from its roots. Where's the money in junior football? Even more pertinent, where is the money to support struggling football leagues in developing countries and to fund youth systems? It really isn't there.
It's fine for us to marvel…

Football and Peace - At Least 100 Years of History

Last month commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

This war essentially began the modern era of warfare and began the shift away from simple line v line battles to more complex and changeable theatres of war. It also began the trend towards greater numbers of civilian deaths which continues today. In most wars now civilian casualties outnumber military personnel and wars are fought in largely civilian areas.

So, it's pertinent to recall this story of the Christmas Truce of 1914, which included spontaneous soccer/football games between soldiers on both sides of the trenches.

Maybe the UN and other bodies vested with generating peace in situations of war really should take off their suits, get out of the negotiating rooms and drop a football in the middle of the warring parties.

Word is the EPL is involved in putting on some kind of event to mark the occasion, which has been planned for some time.

Germany's World Cup Win Helps Heal the Wounds of War

I must admit, I wasn't as moved to gushiness by the German world cup performance as this commentator in Die Welt. But, I accept the contention that the win and the way it was done did much for a nation still questioning itself over two world wars. However, football, even if via a victory in its biggest event, has shown before it can medicate an ailing nation. While Germany wasn't exactly ailing before Brazil 2014, it is still stooping into its future by virtue of its dark past. If the World Cup win allows this generation of Germans to stand a little taller and walk more easily into the future without the burdens of their parents and grandparents holding them back then who can complain? While not allowing any of us to forget history, that has to be a positive for all.

Peace has to be good for the losers, even for the initiators of war, not just for the winners.

Read more here 

Gestures like this from Arsenal's German international Mesut Ozil will certainly help spread the …

Club Qarabag FK and Post-War Azerbaijan

The valuable role of this well known football club and how it contributes to healing in a region still recovering from war and ethnic violence is examined in Matt Gault's feature for These Football Times.

Read more here.
It's worth noting that so-called soccer wars where-by games between ethnically defined league teams become focal points for inter-ethnic tensions, have played a role in this region before, as this report from 2011 shows. 
I have also discovered an interesting looking text and photo book on the subject of war, peace and football in this region (the above photo is from the book) titled Offside: Football in Exile which is featured here.

We're Taking Soccer Balls to Gaza

The Kick Project has been on an enforced hiatus for a while. But we're back. And we've got plans.

We've all seen what's been going on in Gaza. The kids in the picture above were playing soccer on the Gaza beach a month or so ago. There was another boy with them outside of frame. They were all killed moments after this photo was taken by direct Israeli rocket fire. Their names were Zacaria, Aahed Bakr Jr., Mohammed and Ismail. They were all from the same extended family. The IDF believed they may be Hamas operatives. They are among the hundreds of kids killed, and the thousands of children wounded, often horribly so. And they, perhaps, are the lucky ones, for their suffering is over.

I was in Gaza myself in the early 1990's, and met many beautiful people there. I felt welcomed and very secure. Whatever the political context of what's going on there - I have my views on that for sure - the fact is that children and being traumatised and severely damaged - that&#…

Messi Speaks for Children of Gaza

Superstar Argentinian Lionel Messi has spoken out in defence of children in crisis during the bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces. As the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador he is reportedly "terribly saddened" by the vents in Gaza.

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Soccer and the Post-Nationalist World

Interesting take on the World Cup and the break-down of national borders it purportedly represents.

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Big Names Line-up for Peace Friendly in Rome

Major stars like Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane are scheduled to appear at a game at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on September 1 in a Pope-endorsed game to highlight world peace.

It's unknown whether Marco Materazzi will be playing....

Read more here

Soccer Camp Brings Israelis and Palestinians Together

A camp organised by Soccer 4 Peace has successfully run a program in Israel aimed to bring kids from both Jewish and Muslim backgrounds together, on soccer's common ground.

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