We recently went to Kirovohrad, a nice city with a bad name but a well-cared-for stadium. The stadium has its own myth. You know what it is? Of course, it is a “death match” supposedly organised by the Nazis. The plot is standard: the invaders challenged the local football players; the local team scored a heroic victory, and then they were shot for it.
Historians proved all these tales false a long time ago and showed that entire championships took place in occupied territories. They studied the lives of the athletes and rebutted accounts of entire teams being shot, but the myth still persists.
Why did the communists invest such tall tales? Primarily to justify their own actions. In 1952, the USSR repressed Soviet national football team members for a loss to Yugoslavia. The “Death Match” was invented to divert people’s attention – a typical Soviet trick.
But Soviet legends are dying off. What we are facing now is a true death match, or rather a death tournament called Euro 2012.
No, Ukrainian football players are not in danger of any harm for their “exploits” on the field. Nor are their opponents who will likely beat them. The price of the football event will be paid by those who have nothing to do with the sport.
Dogs became the first and most numerous victims of our “football-minded government.” Someone even came up with a plan for mobile crematoria in which four-legged creatures would be burned right where they are caught: in parks, streets or yards. Environmentalists raised hell, and even Brigitte Bardot, who is deeply involved in protecting animal rights, voiced a protest. And then some smart government officials with enviable imagination invented a rabies epidemic. But dogs are not even the biggest victims. Football began to claim human lives.
Case number one. A year ago, two construction workers fell off the scaffolding at the Olimpiysky Stadium. One died at the site, and the other one was taken to an intensive care unit. Two weeks prior to that, Michele Platini visited the stadium after which the primary contractor hired many more workers to complete the construction on time.
Another, no less telling, death was that of miner Hennadiy Konoplov who was trampled under police boots. You say it has nothing to do with football? But wait, what urged him to join the protest? Scrapped financial benefits. Why did the government need to keep this money? Right, in order to build the world’s most expensive stadiums in Europe’s poorest country.
Now the most recent news is that the authorities are not allocating money to purchase medicine for gravely ill children in Lviv Region. Where do you think the money went?
And so, the victims of the “football-minded government” are not only coalminers in Donetsk but also children in Galicia. And here is a simple question for you: is financing allocated in sufficient amounts to purchase medicine for patients with diabetes and gravely ill children in your city? Our authorities are truly democratic – they are killing not only the Galicians, whom Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk hates so much, but everyone.
Let us risk a forecast: every goal scored by football players to entertain Ukrainian and foreign fans will cost the life of at least one Ukrainian.
No goals have been scored yet, but two people – a construction worker and a pensioner – have already died. The initial score is 2:0, and Bankova Street has the lead. How will we be killed from now on?
First, the healthcare system will be underfinanced, because we have spent the money on football. These losses are the most difficult to assess, but they will be the biggest ones. You will remember that Ukraine has an epidemic of multiresistant tuberculosis and AIDS, according to the World Trade Organisation. So victims of Euro 2012 may include not only Ukrainian citizens but also foreign fans who are eager for sexual entertainment.
Second, people will die when opposition rallies, which are sure to accompany “the holiday of football,” are dispelled. We already saw brave OMON fighters with the shine of increased salaries in their eyes on Freedom Day – this is a source of mortal peril.
Next comes “ordinary” processing of young people in police departments. Remember the poor Ihor Indylo – the police will grab guys like him by dozens, if not hundreds.
Incidentally, tuberculosis is raging in prisons and detainment centres. So those who will be beaten in police departments and eventually thrown behind bars are in danger of disability at the least. The police will no doubt detain fans: remember what happened to the leader of fans who chanted the slogan “Thanks to Donbas residents…”
Finally, the belt tightening imposed on us by the authorities led to people having no money with which to pay for the utilities or even food. The years of Viktor Yanukovych’s rule are already marked by a record number of deaths from freezing, including people who died in their own apartments.
Against this background, we can simply ignore fans who will, as always, suffer heart attacks when their beloved team loses. The hearts of fans were tested by the Ukrainian national team a number of times.
But Football Plague 2012 will not be over when the whistle is blown for the last time. The debts accumulated during this spending spree will have to be paid off even by our children. That is, if they do not go to France, Euro 2016 host country, as labour migrants.