Last month we mourned/celebrated the departure of Real Madrid from the EUFA Champions League at the hands of former European giants, AFC Ajax of Amsterdam. After two years, nine months, and five days of supremacy at the pinnacle of European Football, Los Blancos crashed out of the continent’s premier tournament. Next Wednesday, Ajax will take on the Old Lady of Italy, Juventus in what could be another giant killing.
Whether we follow the sport or not, football (and we will insist we call it that) is an obsession in most European countries. Reports have frequently highlighted Viktor Orban’s devotion to the sport, while every two years the continent comes to a halt to celebrate either the European Championships or the World Cup. Even Jacques Derrida has been quoted as saying “beyond the touchline, there is nothing,” in reference to the sport’s reflective nature of life beyond the stadium.
This week we will consider the economic, societal, and political implications of Europe’s footballing obsession. How do tribal fanbases reflect and inform social divisions in Madrid, Glasgow, and Manchester? How do the national teams of France, England and Germany portray national characters beyond being good at penalties? Is the sport a source of inclusion or division on the continent?
Stop by Hamilton 607 at 8pm on Wednesday night to discuss what these questions mean for Europe today, and how the sport might inform the future of the continent by the time that the pan-europeans European Championships rolls around in 2020.