OF COURSE the World Cup is something other than the odious unravelling of hatred we have seen. However, let's stop being so naive and recognise once and for all that this detestable behaviour has become indistinguishable from that leather ball. Those who despise the sport can only conclude that it acts as battle ground for faithless, lawless brutes who respect nothing, even others' lives.
THIS TIME it's something different, something much worse, a blood stain defiles this World Cup. A policeman left for dead, battered, lynched with blows from iron bars by a commando of German hooligans. The football doesn't incite them; it shelters them with guilty complacency. Football is a way of release, of camouflage or, in the case of the World Cup, a media opportunity.
CHEERED ON by a chauvinist crowd and crushed by its brutal supporters, each football team symbolises what is most intolerant about each nation. It becomes a metaphor for war, but fought according to strict rules: on what battlefield could a referee interrupt and send off those who are fighting dirty? After which war would the vanquished accept defeat and promise to do better next time?
WITH EACH new drama the football professionals and fanatics ask themselves what on earth they did to invoke such barbarity. Nothing, of course. Let's not be hypocritical. The World Cup will overcome. Hundreds of thousands of people will still carry their passion; the cheers will echo around the stadiums, and the forces of law will be standing at the ready.Reuse content