Category: Regions

Umberto Eco, deconstructor of football

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)

FIFA execs reach heights of indecision

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)

Alex Ferguson and the Boys’ Brigade

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)

Religion | Despite best efforts, Inter’s knights err

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.

Literature | ‘The planet is a ball’ … certainly in Suriname

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).

Shostakovich: ‘Football is the ballet of the masses’

A reflection about connections between gridiron football and ballet reminds us of the 1930 ballet The Golden Age (Op. 22), by Dmitri Shostakovich.

‘Beckham studies,’ the graduate seminar

David Beckham‘s capacity to generate cultural comment (see Nov 20, Nov 7 and Jul 16 for three recent examples) and to bolster the CVs of tenure-track academics continues. (Dec 11)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blogger

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)

Simon Kuper in Turkey

Turkey already has shown a European orientation through its football, writer Simon Kuper said Nov 29 at the “100th Year Sports and Science Congress,” organized by Fenerbahçe. (Dec 11)

Bosnia | ‘Joyful fandom’ & the flares of Sarajevo (w/ podcast)

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.

Pathos | Manchester is united

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.

Animals | Circus is in town

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.

Mixed media | Round ball, flat art

The quiet launch to the Web of a portion of 50,000 drawings and an even greater number of prints—so-called flat art—within the British Museum collection makes football-related arcana even easier to find. With multimedia »

Lost generation?

Fallout from England’s last-minute slip against Croatia on Nov 21 continues to be felt in the Times‘s microsite, damningly labeled “The Lost Generation.” (Nov 29)

New Zealand | Becks and the powhiri

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.

Television | Brasil, Brasil

An ongoing BBC Four series, Brasil, Brasil, tracks the evolution of Brazilian music, from samba to forró to bossa nova to tropicalia to AfroReggae. Almost all of these traditions intersect with football.

Italy | Ultras Leffe

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.

Brazil | ‘Invisible chain of solidarity’ (w/ podcast)

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.

Links via del.icio.us

To see all our links to stories on football culture around the world (those contained in the “Elsewhere” sidebar section), please visit the Global Game del.icio.us page, or subscribe to the RSS feed. We update the links daily by combing hundreds of English-language sources, reading and selecting the most culturally relevant reports. Links have been compiled and tagged since Sept 06.

Scotland | The Turnbulls’ Hibernian connection

With Eddie Turnbull‘s induction into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame on Nov 11, we highlight an archived article (27 Jul 05) on the Turnbulls and the Hibernian connection.

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