euronews reporter Miguel Sardo spoke to sports philosopher Fabien Oiller as World Cup fever takes hold of the globe.
“The World Cup is “global madness.” “FIFA an all powerful multinational” and the players themselves are “millionaire mercenary’s.” Fabien Oillier, you may recognise some of your comments. You are a philosopher and editor of the French critical revue “What Sport” as well as the author of a number of books on the subject of football such as “footmania.” Are you going to South Africa for the World Cup?
“No I won’t be attending the World Cup because I have not been invited but, I will watch a number of games on TV because to be critical of a phenomenon you have to at least have a look. But what interests me is not what you get in the media. The media likes to report the ecstasy, the so-called dream, the celebration of an entire nation. However, behind the scenes supporters adopt a siege like mentality that spawns outrageous behaviour, alcohol inspired infantile stupidity, look what happened to the great grand daughter of Nelson Mandela. For the Mandela family I don’t think the World Cup is the feast they expected.”
“Still sport has a unifying influence, particularly in a country like South Africa, rugby became a symbol of national reconciliation at the end of apartheid.”
“Most of the population of South Africa will gain nothing from the World Cup, no financial benefit and no social benefit. There is a kind of schizophrenia, a social separation between those who claim access to the wealth and the rest around 40 per cent of the population who live on less than 2 euros a day.”
“You talk about a “mandatory collective hysteria” the passion for the teams becomes a warrior-like nationalism.
“ Look at the South Africans in their national colours blowing vuvuzela’s it a pathetic spectacle from a country that suffered under apartheid. I don’t think it paints a nice picture for the South African team or the population of South Africa. I think its more a result of state propaganda that’s been going for years, and forces the idea that everyone must become a fan.
Pupils in South Africa usually wear school uniforms except for the duration of the World Cup when they can wear the shirt of their team Bafana Bafana its state propaganda through football… yes.”