The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

“Football is very important to the Shia.”

Posted by steigs on December 21, 2007

Try being a Lebanese fan.  Thanks to the political troubles in that divided land, the government has banned fans from going to games.  As the Guardian describes it:

Despite the threat of violence, army reprisals and government censure, some fans still haven’t taken no for an answer. At the Christian derby between Sagesse and Racing Beirut the following day, played at the Bourj Hammoud Stadium across town, members of the Sagesse Fan Club gathered on an overpass and on the rooftops of nearby residential flats before kick-off. Several hundred were there to surreptitiously watch the match, a guerrilla act that had clearly rankled the patrolling soldiers below.

“It’s dangerous, there are mad drunk drivers driving past,” shouted Jeffery, a Sagesse fan clinging to the crash barrier. “You can’t blame the government. People are afraid of the fights. Some people are crazy and mad [but] I have supported this team for 40 years. Can I stop now? How can I stop now?” Despite the effort, Sagesse still go down 2-0. The Sagesse Fan Club trudged disconsolately home. Maybe next Saturday they can finally return to their rightful seats.

In this season where we remember the good things in our lives, give thanks that we’re allowed to watch our teams play in person.

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