Friday, 11 June 2010


There is a popular notion of a football match that likens it to war. Eleven players become the embodiment of a nation's strengths and values for an encounter of epic proportions with an 'enemy'. In the pressured cauldron that is the World Cup, war may seem an appropriate appellation.

History painfully reminds over and over of the horrors of war and its essentially destructive nature. Football, however, does not portray destruction; on the contrary, the essence of the beautiful game - and the reason we love it - are the creative qualities it embraces.

War creates division, the World Cup - like nothing else in the scope of human experience - engenders unity. Cultural diversity can be celebrated instead of frowned upon. Political differences can be set aside, and skill and ability can be appreciated and applauded in their own right.

In our troubled times, how much we need the Cup. The Football World Cup creates unity because when we see the stadiums with their colour and passion we empathize. We all understand the pain and the passion. The Cup engenders empathy rather than intolerance, respect in place of retaliation. Competition? Yes, of course. But not combat, not to the level of life and death significance.

Human times are no more troubled now than in the past, but how much we need the Cup.

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