Politics and sport – never easy bed-fellows.
Usually the problem lies with the feelings of one nation boycotting some tournament or other as it wants to make a political statement.
But, there are a couple of events on the horizon that are certainly going to throw the cat out of the window – hang on that cannot be the expression – something to do with cats and pigeons more like.
We all know that Qatar have been awarded (I use that phrase advisedly) the 2022 Football World Cup. So what does a nation like Israel – well, in fact, let’s say what does Israel do about that?
Easy really. They either don’t qualify for the finals so it is not an issue (easily arranged), or they do qualify and they can go or not go – up to them.
But now what’s happened is that Israel – as in the country – has been awarded the Under 21’s football tournament in June 2013. This is a very prestiguous event – showcasing the stars of the future and televised live around the world.
Now, with football being such a global sport, there will be many footballers scheduled to appear for their countries who will either not want to appear at all for political reasons, or, more likely, they will not be allowed to appear by order of their respective countries’ leaders.
Any participants who do appear against the will of their homelands may be subject to – whatever sanctions imposed by their own countries either lawfully or unlawfully. Egyptians seeking political asylum in Israel – anyone?
I applaud UEFA, football’s European governing body, in ignoring politics and offering the event to a nation as worthy of hosting such an event as Qatar will be in 2022. And I see this as a watershed for the region.
If quarrelling nations can put aside their differences for the good of sport then what a result that would be – Brian.
Football is often referred to as the great leveller – well, it will soon be put to its sternest test.
Now there… are 3…. steps to… carry a donor card – ooh, wap wap!
Just follow steps 1, 2 and 3.</a