Own goal for football

Sport, according to a popular saying, is a form of war by other means.

Own goal for football

Sport, according to a popular saying, is a form of war by other means.

There is not a governing body in the world which is not conscious of the dangers of seeing their games hijacked for one political cause or another.

The apotheosis of sporting competitive challenge is the Olympics and we will enter 2020, an Olympic year, with the Games scheduled for Japan, who proved immaculate hosts during this year’s Rugby World Cup.

But at the same time one of the major geopolitical powers, Russia, has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) from competing in either the XXIII Olympiad or the 2022 World Cup.

This punishment is being appealed on the personal instructions of president Vladimir Putin.

While there is nothing to argue about in the eradication of systematic doping programmes, there is complexity in freedom of speech and human rights issues which has become even more stress-tested in this interconnected world where opinions fly around at the press of a keystroke.

Thus it is that the Premier League team Arsenal, owned by a US investor, have distanced themselves from the comments of one of their players, German Muslim Mesut Ozil, who used social media to support the cause of the oppressed Uighurs in China, which is a lucrative market for Western football.

The Gunners have opened themselves to the accusation that they have put commercial instinct ahead of conscience.

While Ozil may not be an Arsenal player for much longer, he is on the right side of this argument.

More in this section

Price info
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up