Posts Tagged Association football

Spanish Soccer Players Strike Due to Unpaid Wages

Posted by Noel on Friday, 9 April, 2010

It looks like Saturday night’s “El Clásico” between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be the last major Spanish league game that we will be able to enjoy for a while, as the Wall Street Journal has reported that the as of next week players will be striking.

Strike Picketers

A strike looms loudly over the Spain's "La Liga"

The strike affects the top four divisions of the league, the Primera, Segunda A, Segunda B and Tercera divisions. The AFE (Spanish Players Union) said that 85% of soccer players in Spain’s top three divisions either get paid late or not at all. It also says that the Spanish Football Federation still owes the union €8 million ($10.7 million).

In the US we are very used to hearing about strikes. Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL have all been effected fairly recently by strike shortened seasons. The difference though is that these strikes were related to potential future earnings, not money owed. While this strike pertains mostly to soccer players playing in the lower tiers of Spain’s professional soccer league, it is still quite disconcerting to see that owners of professional soccer clubs are unwilling or unable to pay players what was promised.

Toilet Money Roll

This topic is a great excuse to show a picture of toilet paper money

On the bright side, it is nice to see that the more financially secure and powerful players in “La Liga” are supporting the up and coming and/or less talented players in the lower divisions. Without the support of the Primera division players, this strike would surely be taken less seriously.

Sadly it also means that we may miss some games in one of the world’s top soccer leagues, let us hope that it is all resolved shortly.

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Ban of Iranian Girl’s Soccer Team Creates a Peculiar Problem

Posted by Noel on Monday, 5 April, 2010

According to the Associate Press, Iran’s girls’ soccer team was thrown out of the Youth Olympics because FIFA rules prevent players from wearing an Islamic headscarf.

Soccer in Hijab

Iranian soccer player wears a hijab scarf

The hijab scarf — worn by girls and women to observe Islamic dress code — was not allowed under FIFA rules relating to on-field equipment, the Asian Football Confederation said. Despite the urging of Iran’s national Olympic committee for the ban to be reviewed by the International Olympic Committee, the Iranian under 18 girls soccer squad will not be participating in the coming youth Olympics this August.

In response to criticism regarding the decision, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, referenced soccer’s international rulebook which contains a section on player equipment, stating that “basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements.”

Canadian Player Dons a Hijab Scarf

This is a peculiar problem for FIFA and soccer worldwide. The intent of the law was clearly to avoid religious persecution and problem by removing one potential source. Insisting that all teams wear uniforms that do not express religious or political opinions or agendas of any kind would normally help in that regard, but in this case the tolerance policy proves to be remarkably intolerant.

The best team from the Asian Football conference will not be playing in the tournament and it will be so because of a law that forces one side or the other to bend. FIFA has shown that they will not, and the Iranian Football Federation (F.F.I.R.I) certainly will not either. All in all, the whole thing is unfortunate as a team of hopeful young athletes who earned a spot in the Olympics will sit at home.

Iran was to have taken part in a six-nation tournament for girls at the inaugural competition in Singapore on Aug. 12-25. About 3,600 athletes, ages 14 to 18, will compete in 26 sports.

Thailand will now represent Asia in Iran’s stead against Turkey, Equatorial Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and Papua New Guinea.

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How to Stops Greeks From Fighting? Take Away Gambling Revenue

Posted by Noel on Monday, 29 March, 2010

Crowd violence in a semi-final soccer game between Greek clubs Kavala and Aris Salonica, has caused the country of Greece to suspend revenues earmarked for its professional soccer league, Super League Greece.

The revenues come from the state-controlled betting agency OPAP, which are worth a reported 40 million euros ($54 million) per year. This news is not necessarily surprising as Greek soccer has a poor record of crowd trouble and has been plagued by the problem again this season despite anti-violence advertising campaigns.

Hooligans

Hooligans!

There is a lot about this story that, for my fellow Americans, does not compute. When we have a (relatively rare) fight during a sporting event in one of our stadiums, a team of large men in yellow “Event Staff” jackets, breaks up the fight, kicks you out of the game and sometimes (if the fight is bad enough) will even give you a one way ticket to the local city jail for the night. So we don’t have fights, at least not usually. To have a story about soccer hooligans costing their sport “State Money” is one thing, but to find out that the specific line of money that is being cut is State controlled gambling revenue? That just makes an American turn around and leave the conversation.

eBay gambling

Gambling works a little differently in the States (by niallkennedy)

So for my fellows here in the States, I’ll try to make this story more palatable. While in the US, gambling is sort of frowned upon and limited to places like New Jersey, and California’s version of New Jersey, Nevada; in Europe, gambling is more like playing the lottery. It is just sort of something you do sometimes to test your luck and find a buck. As for hooligans and soccer fights, those are more like bar fights in the US. Young fans who have already had too much to drink go to a football match. Here they drink some more and sometimes, a group of equally drunk fans from the visiting team will be just hammered enough to say something upsetting to the young drunk fans from the local team. All parties being wasted and young enough that they have nothing to lose, start brawling. The same thing would likely happen in the US if not for the fact that beers cost $9.00 a pop and become harder and harder to get every time we do have one of our rare fan fights.

Right now the Greeks are trying to keep opposing fans out of the local stadiums, but that is just punishing the masses for the actions of a few. Instead the Super League would do well to take a page out of America’s book and raise the price of beer. Combine that with America’s no beer after the 75 minute mark and a no entering the stadium while “trashed” policy and many of the hooligans will lose heart for the fight quickly. Either way, I hope that the Greek teams are able to continue operations and find a solution.

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