Category: Regions

Tsunami relief | One year later, football remembers Sumatrans

Banda Aceh, Indonesia | Football’s connection to the tsunami one year ago today is perhaps best represented by Martunis, the boy who, at 7, kept himself alive for 19 days by eating berries and drinking puddle water in his village of Alun Naga, near the provincial capital. That he was wearing the red-and-green Portugal jersey when […]

Xmas truce | Hitler, for one, objects to football on front lines

New York | The New York Times Sunday editions included recollections of the 1914 Christmas truce, during which some 100,000 British and German soldiers sang hymns, exchanged gifts and played football during an impromptu day-long silence (see Nov 23). Lt. Kurt Zehmisch of Germany’s 134th Saxons Infantry recalls in a diary entry: Eventually the English brought […]

Scotland | Remembering chillier times with fewer caps

Edinburgh | Eddie Turnbull of Hibernian was the first British player to score in the European Cup (see July 27). Yet due to arcane bylaws of the Scottish Football Association, his nine appearances for Scotland, including the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden, remain mere historical footnotes. Until the 1970s Scotland’s international players were only […]

Peace murals | Out with ‘burly guys,’ in with Georgie

Belfast, Northern Ireland | Grisly sectarian murals glorifying violence between Unionists and Republicans have nearly a 100-year-old tradition in Northern Ireland, but posthumous murals devoted to George Best and other mural “decommissionings” are slowly changing the scene. “Imagine a wee boy or girl looking out of their bedroom window and seeing only burly guys with rifles. […]

Youth soccer | What if bin Laden had tried jihad on the pitch?

Jedda, Saudi Arabia | If a more robust after-school football program had been in place during Osama bin Laden‘s formative years, would violent jihad have seemed so attractive? The query poses itself in Steve Coll‘s New Yorker profile of the young Osama (Dec 12 cover date, also available online) as bin Laden gathers in the early […]

Management | Secret to victory does not lie in the cards

London | Is Chelsea Football Club a winner because manager Jose Mourinho sends all fellow Premiership managers a nice holiday card? Is this what he means when he calls himself “the special one”? In a 5,300-word review of Patrick Barclay‘s Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner, Cambridge lecturer and London Review of Books contributor David Runciman does […]

West Bank | Koreans assist in development of first pitch

Jerusalem | The first soccer pitch in the West Bank, in the Arab village of Issawiya, East Jerusalem, opened today. Funded by the government of South Korea as a contribution to the Peres Center for Peace, the artificial surface will form part of the Peres Center’s “twinned” school concept, in which Palestinian and Israeli school children, […]

Fanzines | I’ll tell you who we play tomorrow … for a fiver

Watford, England | Everything in soccer, it seems, is for sale. In the U.K. this includes fixture lists, the calendar that football authorities produce to establish who plays whom on what day. Some non-revenue-producing, independently produced fanzines have fallen afoul of the regulations. The Guardian mentions the case of Watford FC Web-based chroniclers “Blind, Stupid and […]

Austria | Arnie no longer pumping Graz

Sacramento, California, and Graz, Austria | To look on the bright side, the name of the home ground of SK Sturm Graz may soon be shortened considerably. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked Graz officials to remove his name from the stadium by the end of this year given local protests of Schwarzenegger’s refusal of clemency […]

Cuba | Size of ball determines diplomatic response

Washington | The U.S. Treasury Department has barred Cuba from the World Baseball Classic next March, although officials were scrambling to explain how Cuba’s national soccer team could have played three times on U.S. soil in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. “There’s nothing earth-shattering about it,” Ted Howard, the confederation’s deputy secretary general, said about […]

Media | Women’s dreams confront reality

New York | Despite the glowing reviews greeting the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, the reality is that women’s sports still struggle to find a place in the U.S. marketplace, especially on TV, according to the Journal News of White Plains, New York. ESPN says that 70 to […]

‘Frits’ Philips | ‘The last true patriarch of club soccer’

Eindhoven, the Netherlands | Belatedly we acknowledge the death on Dec 5 of Frederik Jacques “Frits” Philips, 100, founder with his father and uncle of the light-bulb company that became the conglomerate Royal Philips Electronics. In 1913, Philips helped found Philips Sport Vereniging, a sporting association for factory workers of which PSV Eindhoven, current leaders in the […]

Sports and policy | Iran and the World Cup carrot

Zurich | FIFA stanched cries from German Green Party politicians to oust Iran from the World Cup finals following Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s public denial of the Holocaust Wednesday in the southeastern city of Zahedan, Iran. Spokesman Andreas Herren said, “FIFA strictly separates sports from politics.” Ahmadinejad had earlier made anti-Israel comments, and while Green politicians […]

At random | ‘Heidi Klum has sent us to hell’

Leipzig, Germany | Each window of the world’s largest free-standing Advent calendar, this year devoted to the World Cup, covers some six square meters. The calendar has entered the Guinness Book of World Records since being erected in 1997. The World Cup draw on Dec 9, too, seemed larger than life, with celebrities selecting teams and group […]

World Cup draw | Hard times for ‘Jünter the Foal’

Leipzig, Germany | The city of Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Sebastian Bach and, for a time, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe hosts the World Cup draw on Friday, and locals are getting in the swing. Supermodel Heidi Klum has been pictured during screen tests in advance of the Ping Pong–ball plucking that will occur. Two days of rehearsal […]

Best tributes | A ‘pink flamingo’ on the estates

Belfast, Northern Ireland | Linked in life to players like Pelé and Maradona, George Best in death continued to draw comparisons. Writers received extended column inches to describe the Best cortí¨ge on Saturday, Dec 3, and tied the public mourning and spontaneously created tributes in memorabilia and replica shirts to ceremonies that had acknowledged the passings of […]

‘Rundlederwelten’ | High-brow exhibit for low-brow sport?

Berlin | If football fans don’t like art and art lovers don’t like football, whither an exhibit combining the two? Andreas Tzortzis poses the question in the International Herald Tribune about the ongoing “Rundlederwelten” (Round leather worlds) show at the Martin-Gropius-Bau (see Nov 4). The show includes challenging material: video installations, abstraction, sculpture, photography, found objects. Curator […]

Vatican server patrol | Amahl and the site visitors

Vatican City | Our cup overfloweth. In November the Global Game recorded its first visit from servers in the Holy See (domain extension “.va”). Although the pontiff seems an unlikely candidate, despite his recent blessing of compatriot Franz Beckenbauer, numerous possibilities exist within the Curia. Famously, for more than one year now Vatican Radio has offered […]

Courage on crutches | Amputee footballers and the Gospels

Freetown, Sierra Leone | A group of amputee footballers sing of brotherhood, drawing words from the Gospel of Matthew, in a report compiled by Ken Shulman for WBUR of Boston’s Only a Game. The Single-Leg Amputee Soccer Club practices on Aberdeen beach in Freetown, attracting onlookers. Several teams of amputees exist throughout the country, a legacy […]

‘Arsonists’ and ‘firemen’ | Policeman dies in heat of Cypriot riot

Limassol, Cyprus | With clubs reeling from debt, persistent fan violence and racism, Cypriot football managed to hit “rock bottom” Saturday with a policeman’s death, 27 injuries and six arrests stemming from a post-match riot between supporters’ groups, the Cyprus Mail reports. Marios Malekkou, 43, died of a heart attack while carrying an injured police officer […]

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