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Shit happens #2
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-02-09 16:26:29
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When I decided to start this column and replace the old surreal one, I had in my mind fewer and fewer things to make me smile while browsing the media and I felt less and less humorous about the human race. Another thing was that gradually I started getting angrier and, despite my attitude, live and let live and shit happens, I started saying more often, enough is enough.

It is a week in which I’ve read the events on the Italian football fields that ended up with the death of a policeman and it is a week since I read that the Italian Prime Minister, with the consensus of all the parts, association and football players, decided to stop Italian football till they arrive at a solution. The victim was buried leaving behind him a wife and young kids, and Italian police have now found out that the one responsible for the death of the policeman was a young boy, who had hit him with a piece of marble.

Some newspapers wrote that the piece of marble was a piece from the stadium’s toilets, while the government and football associations in Italy admitted that only a few, very few, not more than five stadiums in the country, fulfill all the security measures instructed by the government. As hard as it is to believe, the Italian first division is one of the most popular in the world with some of the most expensive players.

One week after the events, the government and the associations are thinking to permit the games to start once again. There is millions involved in this game, so the only measure they are thinking to implement is that games will only be played in front of the home crowd! So the attitude is…shit happens!

Football is an expensive circus, Milan bought Rivaldo and after paying a few million euros they cannot afford to have him spending all his time enjoying Italian pasta and getting fatter. Every kind of cola is waiting for these games to advertise their products and get more consumers who think that if they use Gillette they are going to play football just like Beckham! This is big business! Coming to the dead policeman…shit happens!

Over the last decades, violence in football is just increasing daily. In the beginning the politicians blamed the sport itself, until they later started to realize that other issues were involved; violence had escalated from a phenomenon between fans to a social phenomenon. Everybody started blaming unemployment, then social depression, boredom, state violence through the police, fan clubs and in the end it was just …shit happens!

But shit happens in football all the time and it seems that lately shit has started drowning football. Actually, the only ones who have never been really blamed are the only ones who have some kind of profit from all this shit and it makes you wonder what makes them an exception. Let’s have a look back at Italian football. Why should the fans trust the league or the association that organize the games, since it is only months after they found out that the management of team, with the help of some players and definitely referees, were fixing games. Lately they found out that in Italy, Spain, England and Germany some coaches were representing players bringing them with a …small fee to play in the teams they were coaching.

Usually, in a case of crime, the police question first the one who takes the money, so why in the case of football are they all ready to blame society like it is a bodiless invisible thing that cannot be touched, seemingly forgetting that we are all part of this society. When the management of a team is complaining that they lost the game not because the opposition team was better but because the referee was sold … sorry was not good, why have the very same referee their own association employees to do the job?

What do you expect from the fans then? If the owner, the one who has put his money, the one who knows the right people says things like that, then what will the 17-year-old do? Furthermore, when these people come with one decision then change it the next day under the pressure of money, financial interests and political pressures, why should the 17-year-old fan be any different? After all, it is the same for him as well, shit happens!

But enough is enough, the football world, especially in Europe, has a chance to change things. The new president of UEFA, instead of going after the money from the television broadcasting, could do something about the violence, since when it comes to football his power is much higher than any prime minister; UEFA has proven that often in the past, especially when it was coming to their rights in adverts and televised games. This is not the first time we have counted the dead and we don’t know if it is going to be the last…shit doesn’t have to happen!

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