Pitch battle! Football league in Argentina renamed in honour of 'General Belgrano'
The government of Argentina has played an unlikely card in the escalating dispute over the Falkland Islands: re-naming its domestic football league after the General Belgrano, the warship controversially sunk during the last military conflict there.
In an effort to galvanise public anger over las Malvinas, the country's President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, approved a plan for the forthcoming season to see the nation's biggest professional clubs compete in the first-division Crucero General Belgrano.
The name, which translates as "Cruiser General Belgrano" refers to the ship sunk by a British submarine during the Falklands conflict in May 1982, with the loss of 323 crew.
To most of Ms Kirchner's countrymen, the event does not, however, symbolise catastrophic military defeat. Instead, it serves as a reminder of Anglo-Saxon duplicity: the cruiser was outside the so-called "exclusion zone" around the islands when it was attacked.
Football arouses huge passion in Argentina, and the government is able to re-name the league on the grounds that it owns the rights to all first-division matches and shows the games on television.
Yesterday's move has nonetheless divided fans' opinion. Judging by views on the blogosphere, some believe it to be a fitting tribute to men who fell in the service of their country, while others say that it represents a cynical attempt to leverage political gain from a national tragedy. Elsewhere, media reports suggested the government also intends to rename its first-division trophy "Gaucho Rivero". That represents a tribute to Antonio Rivero, a cattle herder who killed five British settlers on the Falklands in an uprising in 1833.
Like almost everything about the islands, Rivero's legacy sparks fierce debate. Though a political hero in some quarters, he is said in others to have been motivated not by national pride but by a dispute over working conditions.
Regardless of the historical debate, President Kirchner is anxious to keep public opinion on her side as the 30th anniversary of the conflict approaches. She also hopes to retain diplomatic support from Latin American allies who can assist efforts to place commercial restriction on Las Malvinas.
Tensions have been bubbling away for generations, but have in recent years been heightened by the discovery of potentially lucrative gas and oilfields off the coast of the islands. The diplomatic pressure was further raised last week when the British government announced that Prince William has been sent to the islands for six weeks. In another move which has infuriated Argentina, a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Dauntless, has also been dispatched to the region.
Malaysia Airlines plane crash exposes alarming flaw in airline security: over one billion flights made last year without stolen-passport check
Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote in North Korean elections
Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Oil slicks in South China Sea ‘not from missing jet’, officials say
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 5 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...