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When Football insults reality
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-07-24 07:32:59
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Let’s talk football and since we are in the middle of the summer let’s talk about transfers. Actually the last time we talked football it was again about transfers and if I remember well it was all about Christiano Ronaldo and the unbelievable cost of his transfer from Manchester to Madrid. Only this time I’m going to different side of the continent, Greece.

Its only days I wrote another article starting with the fact that the last few months Greece has made it to the headlines mainly because the financial situation and of course been Greek myself I try to get daily information on what’s going on there and naturally I got my friends and family who live there and constantly telling me how difficult things are turning.

Greece has a real problem, the people of Greece have real problem. I was reading in a site the other day that there are kiosks that shell cigarettes per piece and not per packet. Living in the country of the thousands beautiful islands and not having the chance for a swim, under inhuman temperatures and desperately looking for work, people having lost electricity because they couldn’t afford the bill and old people searching in restaurant’s leftovers to find that tomatoes they are missing. And we are talking about the country where culture, art and science thrived because the people didn’t have to work hard for a tomato; because the land was blessed.

And I’m talking about Greece here because of my roots, because a lot of my friends live there and because I have easier access to the media and information. But I have friends in Spain and in Portugal, I have friends in Italy and France and the news are not much better. The numbers of suicides out of desperation in Spain have dramatically increased in Portugal people are ready to do anything without insurance and guarantee just to make sure that their kids will have food and in Italy even Berlusconi has realized that in the south people are near to the limits with the numbers of homeless raise.

Homeless is something very difficult in South Europe and it has nothing to do with poverty. Family and social ties are much stronger than they are in the industrial central and north Europe and very important for the wellbeing of the local society. Nobody would live somebody starve and without a place to sleep doesn’t matter how far the relationship is, family or just a friend of the family. It is personal. But nowadays there are homeless everywhere in the south and the central and north.

By now you probably wander what all these have to do with football and transfers. Actually everything! Two days ago in the evening and while browsing the news sites, the Greek ones were filled with pictures of people, hundreds of people in real inflammation at Athens airport not demonstrating about their lives, not marching against corrupted governments and politicians, not screaming for their lost lives but cheering and welcome a football player who took millions of Euros from his transfer from the English Liverpool football club to the Greek Olympiacos football club.

These people are the very same that can pay their bills, that they saw their income shrink into crumblings the last few months, are the very same people who lost their jobs and they endanger any minute to lose everything they fought for including their dignity. There is something definitely wrong with this picture and I had to check again and again before accept what I was reading. Then it hit me even harder, yes there were all these hundreds cheering in the airport but what about the thousands. The thousands who felt hatred with all this waste in a country that suffers. What about the provocation to a country that is on her knees. And then how big share these people who could spent all this money had for this situation.  How provocative it is for a public that is sacrificing everything in the name of national survival and the ones who profited with their misery can throw money this way.

I said it one year ago and I’m going to say it again, something must change with sports; it is not only football it just happens to notice it in football the certain moment. It is about all the sports and it is global. Somehow this thing must stop and I’m not sure if Michel Platini and UEFA for example regarding football are enough powerful to take this decision or if something must be done from a more legitimate authority like the EU. A year ago I thought that the ninety million spent for Christiano Ronaldo was something disgusting, a year after the millions spent in Greece for Albert Riera I find it insulting to a whole nation that struggles to survive.

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