Friday, August 03, 2007

Shit!

...is something you won't be able to say at the Barcelona-Beijing Guoan match this weekend.

Apparently authorities there are trying to create a cleaner football culture ahead of the 2008 Olympics and as a result have decided that at tomorrow's match, police will be positioned at each stand filming the crowd looking for evidence of swearing, fighting or throwing trash, and looking to detain those fans who swear, or organize swearing at the match in the capital this weekend, as a way of stamping out the habit.

I'm not making this up. Last weekend, police arrested a 20-year-old Guoan fan who set up a website urging Guaon fans to help him engage in abusing referees and other teams in what Reuters describes as "the salty local slang known as "Jing Ma"".

"The Jing Ma is a traditional cultural heritage of the old capital ... We loyal Guoan fans who like the Jing Ma are attending every match and following the organiser's instructions," police quoted one posting on the site as saying.

Intriguingly, a scholar from the Communist Central party school recently came out with a critique of the national team's style of play. By following instructions blindly, professor Li Jianhua said that player found it difficult to be creative. "Players don't seek opportunities voluntarily," he told reporters after his session with the team. "Only by using the ball in an unpredictable way can players create chances. By just playing according to fixed tactics, you put your every move under the control of the other side."

So, creativity in players = good; creativity among ultras = bad. But is it possible to have one without the other? Aren't playing styles and supporter styles to some degree linked?

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