The beautiful game … it’s not about billionaires


Within days, a football controversy – also known as football in the United States – erupted and quickly died down. In my opinion, it was an attempt to Americanize the beautiful game.

The origins of football in the UK and Europe were never the result of a commercial enterprise and one cannot act as if football is just a money maker while ignoring its history and its anthropology. In its origins, football was the ordinary spectator sport of the worker. Making money out of it came much later.

The relationship between the club and its supporters cannot be launched for the pecuniary interest of an American billionaire or an oil-rich sheikh. Disregarding the anthropology of the game’s development was the major mistake of supporters of the so-called Super League.

He is myopic and silly if, when you think of Celtic and Glasgow Rangers, you think of them as two rival football clubs founded in Glasgow. Their history reflects the history of religious differences in Scotland. Likewise, Roma and Lazio are not just two Rome teams – their histories include undertones of fascism and anti-fascism.

I can go on and on. The rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City or between Liverpool and Everton did not arise from the fact that they are two cities with each two rival football clubs. The reason why these cities must have had two rival football clubs is anthropological and not financial.

Football is the beautiful game because it perfectly balances luck with skill. And with luck, a less competent team can beat a much better team – see the giant killers in FA Cup history.

Football has therefore given hope to the oppressed to secure victory over the well-heeled – a hope that eternally springs from the human heart.

The idiots who proposed the Super League to give guaranteed places to a number of famous clubs, did not know where football came from and only considered the recent development of some famous clubs becoming lucrative businesses.

For many, football is more than just a sport and more than a game with news, articles and rumors. It also has sociological, economic and political aspects. In many countries, football is immersed in national culture – see how many people normally disinterested in football express their joy when their national team wins a match!

Football has great importance in today’s society. It has had a magnificent history, with the emergence of a diverse culture.

Fans idolize players who train to improve their skills and enjoy rivalry with fans of another team – especially with teams coming from their own city in so-called “derbies”.

Fan behavior resembles political and social battles, rather than just a game. The historical aspect of derbies is emphasized by the fact that most rivalries are based on tradition.

Football clubs also carry political traits based on their traditions. Their rivalry can be affected by territory, history and political differences. Football also has economic characteristics, with the huge industry of merchandise with the team symbol and various markings showing support for “their” team.

Anthropologists have studied the analogies between football and its rules with the rituals of so-called primitive cultures. The anthropological study of football today has developed into a relatively global approach that includes interest for all players in the game: the public, the cultural good as evidenced by the actions of players, experts, supporters and others. journalists.

Just think of the rituals practiced in Malta over and over again by Valletta FC supporters every time they win the local Premier League.

Football has proven to be a tool for constructing identity and cultural symbols, a leisure activity linked to the economy and to humanity’s desire for a high level of glory. It spread by the concept of globalization because it is a simple and exciting game that can be understood by everyone.

Billionaires who try to make money from football are seen as a complete misunderstanding of what football is. It is certainly not about profits and television rights – as many of them seem to think.

Secular state

I rarely respond to comments on my articles – everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This time, I make an exception.

Dr Christian Colombo of the Humanist Association of Malta reacted to my opinion piece published two Sundays ago in which I said that Malta is a secular state. I have always viewed Malta as a secular state – unlike a denominational state which submits to the whims and fancies of a particular religious belief.

Article 2 of the Constitution recognizes that the religion of the majority of Maltese citizens is the Roman Catholic apostolic religion. He gives this religion rights and duties, but he does not impose them on anyone. That is why, in my opinion, Article 32, which grants everyone freedom of conscience and other recognized human rights, makes it clear that Maltese citizens are not obliged to follow the recognized religion such as that of the majority. Therefore, Malta is a secular state.

If the Maltese Constitution gave the Catholic Church more than recognition as a religion of the majority, it would not have been possible to introduce civil marriage, divorce, IVF, contraceptives, the teaching of ethics instead of religion in public schools and same-sex marriage. In all of these matters (and more) the Church has had its say, but the State has decided otherwise – a sure indication that Malta is a secular state with no obligation to follow the teachings of the Church. .

Remember that the Church has the right to teach which principles are good and which are false, but they do not have the right to stop the introduction of legislation with which they do not agree. . Neither does he have the right to impose his convictions on others.

Since the state has no obligation to follow the teachings of the Church, I consider Malta a secular state, with freedom of conscience recognized as a human right.

When a Minister of the Republic complies with the pseudo-religious sentiments of certain voters, such as the wish to install a “Way of the Cross” along a public highway using public money, the contradiction is obvious. The Church has never imposed or attempted to impose such an action. It is therefore the State that has chosen to contradict what is expected of its position on religious practices.

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