For Aleksandar Hemon, the Bosnian-born writer, lack of soccer means spiritual death. With interview »
Beckham, on Vancouver swing, tries football by Canadian rules
Vancouver, British Columbia, Nov 7 | As usual, David Beckham‘s North American barnstorming circuit—with a stop tonight at BC Place Stadium—to us raises more interest in pre-existing soccer traditions than in the soccer actually being played.
Baghdad, Aug 9 | A triumphant march through the Asian Cup tournament in July contributed to the resurgence of the Arabic phrase Assood al-Rafidain (Lions of Mesopotamia) to refer to the Iraqi national football team.
“It’s a way of labeling them with this unifying and historic cultural icon,” says Newsweek Baghdad correspondent Larry Kaplow, who appeared on our Aug 7 podcast. Rising above divisions by ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi team, which trains and plays matches in Jordan, defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 on Jul 29 to lift the Asian Cup for the first time.
Of football documentaries that favor the human element there is no shortage of late. One of the most recent is Estrellas de la Línea, screened at English-language film festivals as The Railroad All-Stars, about Guatemala City sex workers who in 2004 organized themselves as a football team.
Dundee, Scotland, May 31 | In our second podcast, Billy Kay, author of The Scottish World, recalls Scotland’s influence on the worldwide spread and ultimate dominance of the passing, artistic style of association football. Scotland will not let England forget that “it wes us.”
The women in Offside—Jafar Panahi‘s 2006 production receiving limited release in American cinemas—have “entered a forbidden space before the law has given them permission to do so,” says the Iranian director.
Rabat, Morocco, Mar 11 | A cursory survey of women’s use of the hijab within football, in both Muslim and non-Muslim lands, shows variance that likely defies a systemic approach.
Laval, Québec, Feb 28 | Eleven-year-old Asmahan (Azzy) Mansour walked onto an indoor field at a youth soccer tournament in suburban Montreal Sunday and into the maelstrom of Canada’s identity politics.
Tehran, Iran, Dec 30 | With translation help from Portland, Oreg.-based writer and radio host Goudarz Eghtedari, we learn from Iran’s sporting authority that preparations are being made to facilitate coed attendance at football matches despite an ongoing ban by clerics.
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.
Articles by Frank McCourt on the sporting culture of his Limerick of youth, on further suppression of football-watching in Somalia, on Abbass Swan of Maccabi Haifa, and on reprieve for Iran’s football federation.
Articles on the world’s smallest football league–on the Isles of Scilly–and Islamist restrictions on football in Somalia.
Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.
Cambridge, Massachusetts | We long ago realized the value of Global Voices Online, the Harvard University–based project that sorts and translates Web logs worldwide, but its ability to circumvent the predictability of mass media makes it a must-read during the World Cup finals. The writing lacks a high gloss but shows the integrity of individuals, [...]
Mexico City | Traditional Mexican Catholic commemorations of Candlemas, marking the presentation of Christ in the Temple, have taken on contemporary hues with celebrants dressing the baby Jesus in football jerseys or other non-standard gear, U.S. Catholic reports in its May issue (“Baby Jesus’ Dress-Up Day,” p. 11). “People no longer respect religion very much,” [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Freetown, Sierra Leone | A group of amputee footballers sing of brotherhood, drawing words from the Gospel of Matthew, in a report compiled by Ken Shulman for WBUR of Boston’s Only a Game. The Single-Leg Amputee Soccer Club practices on Aberdeen beach in Freetown, attracting onlookers. Several teams of amputees exist throughout the country, a legacy [...]