Liberated from apartments outside Atlanta, 75 kids play in a Martin Luther King Day soccer tournament. Local nonprofits use soccer to help children from warring countries, whether Angola or Burma or Sudan, adjust. With video (8:39) »
The Global Game: Writers on Soccer is scheduled for November release—the product of some three years of compiling, winnowing and permissions seeking by myself and editors Thom Satterlee and Alon Raab, along with strong support and belief from the University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln and heroic efforts from a network of translators, working in Spanish, French, Italian, Danish, Portuguese and Slovenian. (Apr 24)
Reports from distant cultures, in Guatemala and Burma, confirm how football insinuates itself into the most hallowed seasonal festivities.
Padaung writer Pascal Khoo Thwe recalls in From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey that football helped mark the festival calendar. To commemorate trophies at distant tournaments, his township team would receive homecoming welcome from a brass band playing Handel. But not The Messiah. (Dec 29)
Doha, Qatar, Jan 3 | In the family tree of football variants, cuju begat chinlone begat sepak raga begat sepak takraw.
While this genealogy may be speculative—less formalized and less freighted than that in the first chapter of Matthew—the importance is that the stylized kickball game of imperial China has found expression in the modern era.
Selangor, Malaysia, Aug 29 | Thirty-five years of hurt? Burma has ended a barren, trophy-less stretch with a surprising triumph in the Merdeka Cup, an annual event to celebrate Malaysian independence.
Mandalay, Burma, Apr 20 | Dry dispatches announcing chinlone tournaments appear occasionally in the New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of Burma’s military regime.
The terse pronouncements show that despite the political and economic torpor and the governing junta’s Orwellian logic—the capital recently was relocated from Rangoon based partly on the forecasts of astrologers—a taste for the beauties of “cane ball” remains.
Manila | Women’s football competition has started at the 11-nation Southeast Asian Games, with the most surprising results posted by Burma: an opening-day victory over Vietnam and a 5–0 victory over Indonesia on Friday. Burma now has the early-tournament lead. The final in the biennial competition is scheduled for Dec 4. The Games include 23 other sports, [...]
Matupi, Burma | Two people—including a 7-year-old boy—were killed and six wounded when Burmese soldiers opened fire on football spectators on Nov 12, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma. The attack, which occurred during an awards ceremony at a stadium in Burma’s northwest, was attributed by state news sources to the Chin rebel army. But [...]
Copenhagen | Jens Sejer Andersen, director of Play the Game, pens an eloquent letter to FIFA after the governing body’s reply to queries about FIFA’s relationship with Burma. Andersen is pleased that Sepp Blatter had intervened in the case of arrested journalist Zaw Thet Htwe (see Nov 7), but argues for more transparency from FIFA and more [...]
Copenhagen | The fourth “Play the Game” conference started Sunday, Nov 6, with a focus on sports corruption. Declan Hill of Oxford University reports that match-fixing in football is common, with the most egregious example perhaps Malaysia in the 1990s. “Up to 90 percent of games were fixed and often both teams and every official were bought,” [...]