Football and Politics

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Maybe in Spain football and politics aren’t so different. I mean, not just in the historical sense of Catalan identity expressed at the Camp Nou during the Francoist dictatorship, rather the way in which they are both ‘played.’

I remember reading an interesting article on the BBC a few months ago about football cultures around Europe. It explained that for the British football is a game to be played by the rules, which are there to be respected at all costs, whereas in Italy it’s a game of life and death between different cities. In Spain it’s entertainment, a piece of theatre, in which diving and trying to cheat the referee are all intrinsic parts of the spectacle. Deception is therefore legitimate and positively encouraged: if the player gains an advantage he’s congratulated and feted, look how clever he is, the little bugger!

Maybe in Spain politics works in exactly the same way. That would be why Francisco Camps, the man at the centre of the Gürtel corruption case and President of the Communitat of Valencia, can declare his possessions to be two bank accounts of with a value of about €3,000, an old car, a small pension plan and half a flat worth €110,000. He knows that isn’t true. Everyone else knows it isn’t true. But the people keep supporting for him. They perhaps even admire him for it, despite the money coming from their taxes (after all he has an annual salary of €79.546.) The people would rather vote for a corrupt local politician than a different party.

Look how clever he is, the little bugger!

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