Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Footballitical wonder(ing)s

Avoiding EURO 2016: A self-experiment — Day Five

In a meeting about a team event that I am co-organising for another department at my workplace, someone asked which match we are going to watch when the event is over. It turns out the venue has a bar with big screens, broadcasting all the EURO 2016 matches, but as the two matches on that day do not start at 9 pm, i.e. three and a half hours after the event is planned to end, the idea was off. I am sure some people will hang around anyhow.

One of the matches is Wales against Russia, and a colleague commented that there will be riots again, as there has been between English and Russian supporters already. I threw in a remark that it seems only England supporters fight and riot, not the Irish, the Welsh, or the Scottish (the latter, as far as I recall, not being present in EURO 2016 anyway).

On the verge of the Brexit referendum, this is put in an interesting light. Some predict that if the United Kingdom really does choose to leave the European Union — to which the country since its admission in 1973 has paid a lower contribution than any other member state, while getting the same full benefits apart from a few essential ones from which they decided to stay out (the social dimension, the Schengen Agreement, the common currency) — the Scotland will leave the United Kingdom, and Wales and possibly Northern Ireland will follow. So the price that the old empire will pay to leave the 21st century might very well be that the core of that empire will crumble.

Who knows, perhaps England will become the 51st U.S. state instead of Puerto Rico. And then: No more European Championships for them… On the other hand, already now, several countries outside Europe are actually UEFA members and therefore play in the EURO qualifiers.

International politics is a strange thing. Not least when it gets mixed up with sports. Which, in my naivety, I still consider just being games.

Speaking of which, my better half came home proudly saying that she, as the only one among the ex-colleagues with whom she had spent the evening out, had bet for Iceland to beat Portugal. Oddly, the party had left the bar —incidentally, the same as mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost —four minutes before the end of the match. At that time, the score was 1:1, and true, I did not hear a single honk in my street here in Little Portugal this evening.

Did the Vikings even win the match? Then they might as well take Scotland under their wings and start forming a Nordic Union.

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