Losing interest | Calcio, by and for Berlusconi

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Marc Zoro of Messina and Côte d'Ivoire. Link to article.Milan | Messina and Ivory Coast defender Marc Zoro picked up the ball in the 66th minute of a Sunday match at Inter Milan and started to leave the pitch to protest the monkey sounds with which spectators greeted his touches. The match continued, with Zoro’s participation, but the display at least has galvanized Italy’s soccer players, who will tote anti-racism banners before this week’s Coppa Italia and Serie A matches.

The incident accentuates some of the comments in Simon Kuper‘s weekend column. In Rome to see a drab encounter between Roma and league leaders Juventus, Kuper describes la fuga dagli stadi (“the flight from the stadiums”) as the outcome of predictable results, obnoxious hooligans, overpriced seats and the Silvio Berlusconi media monopoly, which supplies the people’s opiate in such abundance that treks to the stadium seem pointless. “In this country,” Kuper writes, “Berlusconi voters and Berlusconi haters watch Berlusconi’s team thump teams subsidised by Berlusconi’s government on Berlusconi’s pay channels, in a league run by Berlusconi’s right-hand man, Adriano Galliani, before watching the highlights on Berlusconi’s free channel.” Average attendance for matches in Italy this season is 22,000, less than in England, Spain and Germany.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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