Umberto Eco, 75, hung over from jet lag and downing Macallan whisky on doctor’s orders, parries with Financial Times writer Jan Dalley (Dec 15). But even in the gamut of conversation, from potential fiction projects to beauty to the yoke of slavery accepted when cracking open a lobster claw, Eco flirts just twice with football-related chatter. (Dec 16)
Dabbling in an arena in which it has no expertise, FIFA’s Executive Committee again has tweaked a baffling decision it took in May to ban FIFA-sanctioned matches at high altitudes. The new altitude limit, established by the committee at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, is 2,750m (9,022 ft). (Dec 15)
The Boys’ Brigade, founded in Glasgow in 1883, helped spread the gospel of football domestically and abroad as a by-product of its connection to the Church of Scotland. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson acknowledges its influence and that of one of the youth leaders. (Dec 14)
Izmir, Turkey, Dec 13 | A Fenerbahçe supporter in western Turkey, prompted by jerseys worn by Internazionale of Milan during a Champions League match on Nov 27, has announced that he will take legal action.
The shirts, modeled on St. George’s Cross, to some evoked associations with Knights Templar and, hence, the Crusades of the Middle Ages.
Paramaribo, Suriname, Dec 12 | An itinerant search for football in the sweltering nether-zone of Suriname—hard to reach, its own authenticity as a country diminished by the locals—carries the reader through Daniel Titinger‘s 6,100-word narrative, “Kicking the Ball to Holland,” in the Virginia Quarterly Review (fall 07).
The New York Times in today’s editions brings us up to date on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s embrace of Web 2.0. The Iranian president’s blog, however, has yet to take up football, despite Ahmadinejad’s zest for the game and the nation’s running discord with FIFA. (Dec 11)
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dec 10 | Özgür Dirim Özkan, in fieldwork among supporters’ groups in Sarajevo since Feb 07 and on the Bosnian Football Culture website, has examined football as but a small part of a society that, in the Western frame, implies little but ethnic-riven conflict and a constellation of indecipherable place names. With 28-minute podcast.
Manchester, England, Dec 7 | Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 6 Feb 1958 Munich airplane crash that killed 23, including eight Manchester United players, will incorporate the entire city and avoid commercial tie-ins, organizers have decided.
Jean-Marie Pfaff, in his heyday as a goalkeeper for Belgium and Bayern Munich, built a popular following.
Now 54, he is the centerpiece of a long-running Belgian reality TV show De Pfaffs. Pfaff’s affinity for performance will further be tested as part of the upcoming Antwerp Winter Circus.
“The Beckham has landed” reports the New Zealand Herald in Nov 29 editions. Some 500, as if hearing of a child in a creche, came to adore him in Wellington, where David Beckham has arrived with L.A. Galaxy for a friendly against Australian A-League side Wellington Phoenix on Dec 1.
UC Albinoleffe of Bergamo, Italy, has gained notice of late—most recently at Guardian Unlimited—for leading Serie B despite a minuscule fan base from two small towns northeast of Milan. See the Ultras Leffe fan site for photographs of the support and Rai.tv for recent highlights.
Football-generated passions, says Coelho, will propel Brazil toward 2014
Paris, Nov 8 | Within 24 hours of writing about Brazil’s successful presentation to host the 2014 World Cup and the role of writer Paulo Coelho in the bid effort, we received a message from one of Coelho’s assistants, taking note of our comments. We speak with Coelho about his role in the bid and the place of football in Brazilian life.
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