Friday, March 23, 2007

Soca Warriors Unionize

If you read a pretty move during its bout of World Cup fever, you may recall that I was a big fan of Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors, and the spirit and joy they and their supporters took to Germany. Now the Warriors are going to court over their post-World Cup maltreatment. They are being fobbed off with payments totaling less than $1000 each, despite the fact that the T&T football federation is financed by none other than wealthy FIFA vice-president Jack Warner. This is by no means the first time footballers from nations with lower profiles in the soccer world have been treated this way. If there is truly little money to pay your athletes, and they go into tournaments knowing that's the case--well, that's one thing, but the stories rarely seem to play out the way. Much more often, as is the case here, promises are made with no intention of fulfilling them. Here's hoping the Soca Warriors get their day in court and justice reigns.

And while I'm seething with indignation about soccer injustices, here is a piece from earlier in the month about the challenges faced by the English national women's football team. This is a fantastic piece that I've been holding back on linking to because I wanted to write about it in the context of a more substantial post on women in the footballing world. However, I haven't had time to devote to a substantial post in a while, so this will have to do for now. A few months ago I remember reading some comments on a Guardian blog, perhaps in response to remarks by the misogynistic and now-unemployed (huzzah!) ex-Luton manager Mike Newell but perhaps about something else--at any rate, they were to the effect of "Have you ever watched the English women's team--it's hilarious how rubbish they are! No wonder no one cares about women's football!" So hilarious that, as they say, I forgot to laugh--particularly after reading about the crap food, crap training, players juggling their international duties with full-time jobs, and nonexistent support for families.

5 comments:

wise said...

I've always thought that, just like the different leagues around the world have their own unique styles, the women's game could grow into its own if it had even 1/10th the infrastructure that the men's sides have. Watching the U of P ladies make their national championship run was incredibly exciting, hinting at an untapped well of talent and potential. I definitely see analogues between the challenges in growing the game here in the states, and growing the women's game abroad. many of the same perceptions and predjudices apply.

Lynda said...

Yes, I absolutely agree, especially given your point about the different styles of leagues around the world. After all, while maximum strength and speed may be crucial for Premiership football, I prefer the slower passing game and footwork of, say, La Liga, myself. In other words, I'll concede that women's soccer is unlikely to produce a squad of players with the size and strength of Didier Drogba anytime soon, but it's just as entertaining to watch dexterous smaller players as well.

linda said...

Seconded - or rather, thirded. Especially Lynda's point about dexterousity and skill.

One of my favourite statistics about La Liga is that Ludovic Giuly, the shortest player in the league at 1.63m, is about my height. Yet he's not bad, is he?

Zach Dundas said...

The more closely I follow English football culture, the more diseased it seems to me, and the prevalent contempt for the women's game (which is a different version of football, but is still football) is just a manifestation of the rot.

Fortunately, we never have to worry about them winning the World Cup at any form of the game.

Lynda said...

Linda-I love hearing statistics like that. Indeed, no one would accuse Guily of being a bad player on account of his size.

Zach--I agree with you, as much as it pains my Anglophilic heart. Between the "only foreign players dive" nonsense, the repeated insistence that "the Premiership is the BEST league in the world," and the Guardian's appallingly uninformed coverage and commentary on the American game/fans/system that you actually brought to my attention, I'm kind of fed up. Not that being fed up will stop me from being really, really excited when I get around to attending a live Premiership or even Championship game...