OPINION

Cleaning up soccer

We boast that we shall host the Olympic Games in order to redeem their Olympic spirit and spread the idea of fair competition around the world. Should the Olympic spirit not descend to Earth any time soon, next year’s soccer derbies will probably take place under the watchful gaze of 22 police officers standing next to the players of the two teams. Their task will be to protect the players (one each) from the stones, screws, bottles and flares thrown by the heroic fans of rival teams. In the beginning, some problems of coordination may occur, but the absurd spectacle that we shall enjoy will definitely be more exciting than what we usually watch on the plots of land that we euphemistically call stadiums. Hell will freeze over – or, more likely, our round soccer balls will turn into cubes – before we see soccer bigwigs stop «doping» their troops, before we see rabid fans turn into peaceful followers, abandoning the gods they fanatically worship, before we see the enviable day when rival teams will be able to reach the stadium without risking danger and take to the pitch for a safe warmup, before the police will be fewer than the fans. Indeed, why should the State mobilize for two or three days each week to protect the interests and the image of some private soccer clubs? If the clubs are unable or unwilling to protect themselves, if they are indifferent toward the fact that their «armies» channel all their activity into bullying and vandalism, why should the State accept the burden? Let the police be absent from the soccer fields on one, two or three Sundays. Let some games be canceled. And let the clubs lose the broadcasting rights – their main concern. And then we maybe the impossible will happen.