Updated on 06/05/2022 at 11:10 AM
- Time and time again, there are demands from fans to separate sports from politics.
- However, both history and current reality show that this requirement is illusory.
- Sports are mostly a reflection of the conflicts of the geopolitical system or social issues.
In a year when the Olympics are being held in the Chinese capital Beijing and the soccer World Cup is being held in the Gulf state of Qatar, some fans are tired of mixing sports with politics. They are loudly calling for a separation between the two. It is yearning for sports as a haven and forgetting all the politics of daily life during events.
Journalist Felix Tamsut, who has been dealing with fan culture for a long time, says in an interview with editors. Why is it a privilege? “To give an example: I’m Jewish, I go to the stadium. I also want to leave my everyday life behind, but then someone comes up to me and says, ‘You’re a silly Jew.’ Because I wear a Star of David. I’m not here to discuss anti-Semitism. I’m here to shout my team to victory.” However, I have to face it.”
Fan groups are mostly politically conscious
A stadium, circuit, or racetrack is always a political place. Because racism and discrimination exist as well as class differences and many general social issues. Otherwise there will only be a parking room or only VIP boxes. According to Tamsut, looking at the other side or listening is a conscious decision: “That requirement to remain apolitical, and in quotes, to remain apolitical is a political requirement. If you don’t choose a side, you end up choosing a side, no matter which one” .
He praised the fact that organized fan groups, for example in football, have strong political awareness and take responsibility in many cases. “You have this responsibility in many ways,” Tamsut says. “Whether it’s the responsibility of your group members who have any issues. Whether it’s through the data you post on certain topics.” “It’s also because you have a certain position in the juncture, in the stadium and sometimes in the city, where you can also change things, in the social sphere, in the political sphere, in terms of racism, in terms of sexism.”
Sports as a reflection of the struggles of the system
While in this country political issues within the municipality or urban community are often concerned, geopolitics is pursued accordingly on the big sporting stage. Autocratic regimes in particular prefer to use sport to present themselves in the best light. Sport has always challenged the supremacy of systems.
Eastern European historian Karl Schlögel recently pointed out that Russia and the Soviet Union did not actually enter the sporting arena until after World War II and then became a great power there as well during the Cold War.
In addition, religious and ethnic conflicts have always been in the sport by extension. Take, for example, the long feud between Irish-born Catholics and Protestant unionists in Scotland, which was reflected in the Celtic giants of Glasgow and the Rangers. Or the match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade on May 13, 1990, which illustrated the gradual disintegration of the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia due to street battles and riots. Legend has it that this game started the battles of the Balkan wars.
Tamsut sums up: “Sports always have a relationship with the country, with the culture, with the political situation, and with many other things.” Thus, the separation between sport and politics is fictitious and the corresponding claim is unfounded.