Football’s powers of resurrection have rarely had a better exemplar than Martin Afrika. The 32-year-old captain for South Africa at the Homeless World Cup has reconstructed his identity through sport. With podcast »
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)
Multibillionaire Philip Anschutz, owner of three Major League Soccer teams, has seized on football as a consumable, offering it to the American public in packaged, market-tested form devoid of any native countercultural quality.
Such practice is in keeping with what Umberto Eco and isolated voices from the past, such as Britain’s suffragettes, have noticed about male spectator sport: that it is a cultural neurosis “for which there is neither a reasonable explanation nor an effective cure.”
Rome, Jan 12 | Within the sometimes cynical culture of calcio in Italy, the documentary “Matti per il calcio” (Mad about Football) offers respite from the latest “calciopoli” scandal: the dark dealings linking several of Italy’s major clubs to a pattern of match-fixing and referee seduction.
“Una cura di calcio” says the headline above the film review in La Rinascita della Sinistra. The article suggests the benefits of football in treating the mentally ill and clinically depressed, but also wonders whether the members of Gabbiano FC, the subjects of the movie, recapture some of the joy and life-renewing power that football was meant to provide.
Including figures from the world of football in the holiday-time presepe could not be sacreligious, as football in Italy certainly takes on characteristics of faith.
Tokyo | It would have made a better first-round game in soccer’s World Cup. But in baseball, Japan versus China—a pairing that today helped launch the first World Baseball Classic—resulted in an 18–2 thrashing administered by the home side. Soccer, and the world-embracing success of the quadrennial World Cup finals, has motivated Major League Baseball’s attempt to “internationalize the sport,” according to [...]
Rome | Paolo Di Canio and Lazio teammates abided yesterday by the request of Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni to meet with Nazi death-camp survivors. Three survivors addressed the players at Michelangelo‘s Piazza del Campidoglio; afterward, Di Canio sounded contrite, saying “we heard the stories of people who went through something terrible.” Although still attached to right-wing [...]
Turin, Italy | The torch of the 20th Winter Olympiad began its last-day descent from Superga Basilica, acknowledging a tragic component of city history before being transported to the rechristined Stadio Comunale north of the Torrente Sangone. On 4 May 1949 a plane carrying 18 members of “Il Grande Torino,” four-time winners of the Scudetto, crashed [...]
Zagreb, Croatia | In an item from the Italian news agency ANSA concerning an “upcoming European Champions cup for holy brethren,” we were surprised to learn that there is no patron saint for football. Given the Vatican’s known interest in the game (see Dec 2), one might have expected a designee. Players for the Italian [...]
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 [...]
Milan | Messina and Ivory Coast defender Marc Zoro picked up the ball in the 66th minute of a Sunday match at Inter Milan and started to leave the pitch to protest the monkey sounds with which spectators greeted his touches. The match continued, with Zoro’s participation, but the display at least has galvanized Italy’s soccer [...]
Atlanta | With Heysel, hooliganism and concerns for safety at the fore, Renzo Piano in the late 1980s received a commission for a World Cup stadium in Bari, Italy. Among other architectural models and renderings covering two floors at the newly opened High Museum expansion—also a Piano commission—plans for the Stadio San Nicola indicate an emphasis [...]