Assaf Gavron, captain of the Israeli writers’ XI (see 9 Dec 08), regards football as a legitimate literary subject: “The main appeal is to accomplish the boyhood dream of many men really, not only writers. It is to be a football star.” With podcast »
What does soccer have to do with literature? asks Israeli novelist Assaf Gavron in advance of a Writers’ League friendly between Germany and Israel. “Soccer is life, literature is about life.”
Ian Plenderleith, not for the first time, has done great service by offering a synopsis and highlights in translation of director Britta Becker‘s 90-minute documentary Die besten Frauen der Welt (“The Best Women in the World,” Jan 7).
The film chronicles Germany’s championship at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sept 07 and, along the way, points to “the obvious contrasts between the Germans and the US team that failed to advance beyond the semi-final.”
In Iran, Kreuzberg team learns about football under cover
Berlin, Sept 29 | Filmmaker Ayat Najafi had to content himself with experiencing the centerpiece of his new project, Football Under Cover, as an exile.
At Ararat Stadium in Tehran on 28 Apr 06, Najafi stood outside the arena along with husbands of the women inside—players for the Iranian women’s national team, their amateur opponents, BSV Al-Dersimspor of Kreuzberg, and about 1,000 female supporters.
Streets paved with soccer | Atlanta-birthed grassroots program teaches game and life in ‘Soccer 101’
We are grateful for the biweekly indulgence, from the north Atlanta studios of WGSR, of speaking to soccer-impassioned people about soccer. Today we feature Soccer in the Streets, part of the streetfootballworld network of some 80 football-based social-development initiatives aimed at communal and personal transformation.
Washington | U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently embarked on a mission of soccer diplomacy. Now President George Bush has shared his own views in an interview with German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, timed to the Washington visit of Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor.
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.
Dortmund, Germany | Supporters lent a raucous surrounding to today’s friendly between Germany and the United States. We did not see denizens of the Signal Iduna Park wearing any of the free 11,000 T-shirts reading “Ihr fÃ¼r uns und wir fÃ¼r euch” (“You’re for us and we’re for you”) meant to soften feared hostility toward Germany’s manager. At least the U.S. television commentators were not wearing them.
London | Wayne Rooney may be developing writer’s cramp along with his football injuries in years to come. But of more interest than Rooney’s Â£5 million publishing deal are several other football titles showing that the game lends itself to multiple genres.
Berlin | A provocative sketch by Der Tagesspiegel cartoonist Klaus Stuttmann, depicting Iranian footballers strapped with explosives, has thrown Germany into the imbroglio over caricatures seen as anti-Islamic. Stuttmann has abandoned his apartment following death threats; an image on the cartoonist’s home page shows him cowering beneath a manhole cover. Violence stemming from the images of [...]
Berlin | At least seven entries can be added as examples of world cinema’s interest in football (see our cinema page). All are currently screening at the Berlinale, the 56th Berlin International Film Festival. Gerd Graus, media chief of the German World Cup organizing committee, describes cultural connection with the sport as broad. The last [...]
Berlin | The Brandenburg Gate becomes the venue for a pre–World Cup “gala” after FIFA axed earlier plans for a star-studded spectacular. Having seen the production values for the Dec 9 draw in Leipzig (see Dec 6), the decision is probably for the best. But the re-think represents the type of PR misstep that, writ large, offers commentators [...]
Manchester, England | If Steven Spielberg had thought longer about the title for his latest blockbuster—or if he had spent more time in the north of England—he might not have chosen Munich. “[I]n this country,” writes Brian Viner of The Independent, “the word Munich has a prior claim on popular sentiment, relating more than anything to [...]
Berlin | On New Year’s Day German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “skeptical” concerning pleas from some Green Party politicians to ban Iran from the World Cup finals (see Dec 15). Flames of controversy were lit last month when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made anti-Israel comments and publicly denied the Holocaust. Holocaust denial is a [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Berlin | Presiding judge Gerti Kramer has ignored prosecutors’ requests for a suspended sentence and given match-fixing referee Robert Hoyzer a 29-month jail term. Hoyzer will remain free on appeal and plans to write a book. Hoyzer “violated his important duty of neutrality,” said Kramer on handing down the sentence. Prosecutors have appealed an 18-month suspended [...]