Sunday, June 11, 2006

Games I'd Like to See


What we really need is a match between Cote D’Ivoire and Saudi Arabia. All 23 Saudis play in their home country. All 23 Ivoirians play outside their country.

Expanding it to a mini-tournament, we could have the 2002 Ireland squad, which had 23 players, all of whom played in a single country which was not their own (England), face Athletic Bilbao, which has 23 players of an ethinc extraction (Basque) which does not have it’s own country.

On second thought, no need to include Athletic, as this November, the Euskazi are expected to field a team in the VIVA World Cup (German Only). This projected 16-team tournament, organized by the New Foundation Board (best in French), allows stateless nations to play one another in “internationals”. FIFA, which constantly boasts about the fact that it has more members than the UN, is livid, as it undermines their status as the global arbiter of the game. However, saddled as it is with an essentially Westphalian understanding of personal identity, it’s not exactly in a position to provide an outlet for those whose identity doesn’t co-incide with national borders.

As a result, this year’s inaugural tournament will pit the hosts from the Republic of Northern Cyprus against the Sami (featuring Morten Gamst Pedersen!), the Chechens, the Tibetans, the Kurds, etc. Curiously, the Parti Quebecois, which amusingly proposed splitting the Canadian hockey team last January (apparently finishing 8th as part of a pan-Canadian team wasn’t bad enough) hasn’t latched on to this wheeze yet…

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