Fußball – ein Spiel des Hasses

In Weltmeisterschaftszeiten wird gerne verdrängt, was Fußball eigentlich ausmacht: Es ist ein Millardengeschäft mit anachronistischen Emotionen. Der Rückfall in atavistisches Stammesdenken ist ja unschwer bei jedem Ligaspiel (egal in welchem Land) beobachtbar. Selten nur werden diese Tatsachen ausgesprochen, wo anders als in der New York Review of Books kann man solche deutlichen Worte darüber lesen:

If we were to ask, what has been the most dangerous emotion of the last two centuries, one possible answer might be: the nostalgia for community, the yearning, in an age of mechanization and eclecticism, for the sort of powerful sense of group identity that will enable you to hold hands with people and sing along, your lucid individuality submerged in the folly of collective delirium, united in a common cause, which of course implies a common enemy.

This desire for close-knit community at any price was no doubt an important factor in the rise of National Socialism, fascism, communism, and a range of recent and dangerous fundamentalisms. Football fandom, as it developed in the same period in Europe and South America, might be seen as a relatively harmless parody of such large-scale monstrosities, granting the satisfaction of belonging to an embattled community, perhaps even the occasional post-match riot, without the danger of real warfare. The stadium and the game have become the theater where on one afternoon a week, in carefully controlled circumstances, two opposing groups, who at all other moments of life will mingle normally, can enjoy the thrills of tribalism. Hard-core supporters of the competing teams occupy opposite ends of the stadium generating a wild energy of chants and offensive gestures that electrifies the atmosphere.

Belege dafür stellt die letzte Weltmeisterschaft zur Verfügung:

What happens when a team sport, particularly an intensely engaging, fiercely physical sport like soccer, a game capable of arousing the most intense collective passions, is transferred from the local to the national level? What happens when very large crowds, many of whom are not regular fans and thus not familiar with the game and the emotions it generates, find themselves involved in the business of winning and losing as nation against nation? For the soccer team comes to represent the nation, indeed the nation at war, in a way the single athlete cannot. Before England’s decisive game with its old enemy Argentina, the London Samaritans announced that their staff would be at full strength to deal with misery if England lost. After Japan beat Russia —another old quarrel—the people of Tokyo danced in the streets, while in central Moscow, where giant screens had been set up to show the event, there was serious rioting and one death. The TV in the home is safe enough; in the stadium there are fences and police. But a crowd in a public square watching their nation lose against an old enemy with nothing between themselves and, for example, a Japanese restaurant (one was seriously vandalized in Moscow) is a dangerous thing indeed. These events serve to remind us that globalization has done nothing to diminish nationalist passions. Perhaps the reverse.

Tim Parks fand diese treffenden Worte in der NYRB 12/2002. Von Fußball wird hier nie wieder die Rede sein :-)

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