Football as an enemy

first_imgUnited Kingdom was one of the first powers to enter the World War I. He did not hesitate to be a main part of the allied side and send his citizens to face the Central Powers since the outbreak of the conflict in the summer of 1914.As it could not be otherwise, the European context led to the obligation to suspend all sporting events in the nations involved. All sport was suspended (JJ OO, Wimbledon, Tour de France …), but British football took longer than it should with the aim of keeping the spirits of the population high. Although the following four editions did not begin, the 1914-15 season was played out complete with the championship for the Everton and the decline of Tottenham (the FA Cup raised by Sheffield United). Footballers were not obliged to go to war, although due to physical conditions and age they were ideal to be called up. The decision to be sent to fight or not was made by the clubs. Public opinion was very critical of these privileged. One of the soldiers who were serving in France published an article in an English newspaper denouncing the situation and it was suggested to the king Jorge V to withdraw support for the Federation. Arthur Conan Doyle, who went down in history for being the creator of the character of Sherlock Holmes and in whose youth he dedicated himself to defending the goal of the team of Portsmouth, was in the same line of thought and left a reflection that turned a red face to all those who avoided fighting for their country with the excuse of sport: “There was already time to play soccer, business and everyday life. Now only it’s war time. If a footballer has leg strength to play soccer, let him run on the battlefield. “ Many of them had no choice but to accept the call of their army and some even ended up being decorated. The XVII and XXIII Infantry Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment were the so-called Football Battalion. Groups of soldiers formed, mainly, by soccer players. Players could return on Saturday to play their league game, but the Army was unwilling to bear the travel expenses and these were paid by the clubs themselves. Referees and managers also joined. The second mentioned battalion, number 23, was led on the Italian front by the first black officer, Walter Tull, midfielder of Northampton until 1914, who ended up dying on the northern front of France.Soccer had its leading role even on the battlefield itself. More than known is the story of the German and British soldiers in the 1914 Christmas Truce, when they stopped the battle to sing Christmas carols together, share a table, cigarettes and play a soccer pachanga (it lasted until this behavior reached the leaders of each side). The UEFA He has recognized this fact with tributes in the area where the game was played. There is even a curious story of how the British officer Wilfred Neville He decided to kick soccer balls (he had written phrases such as “without referees” on some) to indicate the start of the attack on his soldiers.The British federations came to abandon the FIFA for a few years after the world body recognized the countries on the side of the Central Powers. It was a very turbulent time for FIFA with the death of its president Daniel Burley Woolfall in 1918.One of the gestures that can be seen today is the tribute made by the Premier League in the days that remain around November 11, the Day of Remembrance in the United Kingdom. All teams wear a patch, usually in the center of the chest, with a red poppy in honor of soldiers killed in combat. It is a general movement of all British society to which football also joins.last_img

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