International escape strategies for the World Cup

I’m not even pretending I care about the World Cup, unless they were all togged out like the photo, below the fold. (Please dont look if you might be offended.) I was at a very posh do in Belfast City Hall the other night, and the conversation turned to… yep… THAT football match. While everyone at the table snootily declared their condecension for said games, they then proceded to talk about nothing else for 30 minutes.

In Israel one woman fears the moment ‘a piercing shriek is going to tear our family apart – the opening whistle of the World Cup soccer games. At that moment, and for a month of days, a statue which bears a strong resemblance to my children’s father will be positioned on our living room couch, glued to the TV. The man sitting there won’t be the man we know. He won’t look like my he-man because his eyes will go from bright and searching to a glazed affixed stare of a creature on the couch.’


The Bangok Post on the other hand is reporting that there will be a huge increase in sex trafficking for the duration of the World Cup. It talks about Germany, so I assume this is where all the action is going to be. They are commenting on an American report that says there are reports of thousands of women being transported to Germany for sex during the World Cup, “All the research and evidence available shows that when you have large flows of women for sexual purposes there is going to be trafficking.” Prostitution is permitted in regulated brothels in Germany, but many women operate illegally and without government licenses, in part because a large number of them come from Eastern Europe and do not have work permits. Others are victims of forced labour.

It seems though that everyone is getting in on the game (so to speak), with the Catholic Church printing a useful leaflet for prostitutes. The Catholic Church is also involved in a number of ecumenical projects relating to the social issues raised by the World Cup. Women’s organizations have started a campaign against forced prostitution, which many fear could substantially increase to serve the demands of the many fans coming to Germany. Women’s religious orders are offering brochures in the various languages likely to be used by the prostitutes.

The Catholic Church has set up a Web site, www.kirche-am-ball.de – which means “church on the ball” -offering information about regional activities, as well as tips for liturgical elements related to the World Cup. These include intercessions asking for fairness in play and joy among the spectators, and even for tolerance from those who are not interested in soccer. The site includes tips for sermons and a series of prayers based on an alphabet of soccer terms.

Maybe I’ll spend the next month reporting on how all the non-footie people in the world are managing…… all 10 of us

  • Pete Baker

    Hey! Miss Fitz.. that image should probably carry a Not Safe For Work warning [or at least put it below the fold]

    *shakes head* 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    Too cheeky Pete?

    Seriously, if its too much, I’ll take it off, but I found it more interesting than Mick’s map. I thought since it was all rear view, so to speak, it passed decency requirements, but dont want to offend.

    Let me know

  • Pete Baker

    Well, to be serious for a moment, Miss Fitz.. I think it’s probably better to put the image below the fold.. although I don’t think you necessarily need to remove it.

    For two reasons –

    1. NSFW is widely used for a reason.. and the reason is the unreasonableness of many employers.

    2. If I used a comparable image of a womens soccer team there would be complaints.

  • Nevin
  • harpo

    ‘The Catholic Church has set up a Web site, http://www.kirche-am-ball.de – which means “church on the ball” -offering information about regional activities, as well as tips for liturgical elements related to the World Cup. These include intercessions asking for fairness in play and joy among the spectators, and even for tolerance from those who are not interested in soccer. The site includes tips for sermons and a series of prayers based on an alphabet of soccer terms.’

    Isn’t that bit about ‘and even for tolerance from those who are not interested in soccer’ interesting? I hope that Barry McElduff finds himself being given a sermon on the subject by his local parish priest in the near future. Hopefully it will have some effect and change his Scrooge-like demeanour.

    ‘and a series of prayers based on an alphabet of soccer terms.’

    Hail Mary full of grace
    Let’s put England in their place.

  • Harry

    1. NSFW is widely used for a reason.. and the reason is the unreasonableness of many employers.

    Can’t say I’d spend anytime working in a place which objected to that photo while perusing slugger. Imagine spending your working life working under such straitened conditions. Dreadful.

  • Nevin

    [i]If I used a comparable image of a womens soccer team there would be complaints.[/i]

    Well, the rear view is less interesting …

  • joeCanuck

    I can’t see any ball(s) in the photo.

  • Miss Fitz

    Neither could I Joe, but I wonder did you look as hard?

  • Well, I find the picture offensive, but mainly on account of the caption. Some of us women do actually enjoy the game for its own sake you know! I for one will be glued to the television for the next month … apart from those games I’m actually going to, that is …

  • Rory

    Now’s your opportunity, Miss Fitz. While himself is glued transfixed to the box you can conduct a passionate interlude with your Senegalese au pair boy right under his nose. Life is short. One must take these gifts as the moment dictates.

  • Animus

    I wouldn’t complain if it was a women’s team, because I’m so terribly broad-minded.

    I’m not much a football fan generally (I like watching the highlights) but I make an exception for the World Cup.

    It’s very sad that all these so-called footie fans will be using their trips to Germany to pay for sex. Pathetic. They’ll probably be so pissed that there may be little action off the pitch.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Miss Fitz

    You didn’t happen to see the Irish Times’ World Cup supplement the other day? The great Tom Humphries had a fantastic riff on “World Cup Widows”. (Subs needed, but I’ll paste some of the article below.)

    “The Swiss Tourist Board are beaming their ads around Europe. Here, according to the Herald Tribune, is the gist: its ads feature brawny lumberjacks and a come-hither dairyman, a real-life farmer and Mr Switzerland 2005 with an invitation to soccer widows to visit the Alps in summertime.

    Few would confuse them with an official sponsor, but the link is unmistakable: “Dear girls, why not escape this summer’s World Cup to a country where men spend less time on football and more time on you?”

    And this is the nation of sickos that kept us out of the World Cup? Let’s invade them.

    Annoying as they are, the Swiss may well have put their very efficient digits on the nub of one of the World Cup’s greatest problems. Whether you travel to the tournament or not there is a crushing downside to the World Cup experience. There is a good portion of the world which deliberately and cussedly turns its face away from the event and places its hands over its ears and sings loudly: “La la la, I’m not listening”. It would be crass and politically incorrect to generalise, but generally these people are women. To be fair there are undoubtedly troubled souls out there who will claim to be World Cup Widowers. Nature plays the cruellest tricks. These are oul wans trapped in men’s bodies.

    (It should be noted that a recent survey conducted by Duracell indicated that 94 per cent of men would never switch the team they supported, no matter how bad things got, but 52 per cent of them would divorce if things weren’t going to plan. One hundred per cent were baffled as to what the survey had to do with batteries but most thought Bill Clinton had been a smart man to call his daughter Chelsea.)

    Anyway, not to brag, but I speak as one who has had an ongoing involvement with a woman. In fact, it was this woman who we called, in a state of mild but forgivable inebriation, from New York in June of 1994. The purpose of the call was to say hello and guage the precise levels of national hysteria provoked by the man-walks-on-the-bloody-moon type moment in history that was Ireland beating Italy in Giant’s Stadium earlier that day.

    The woman was baffled. She said that she had been driving to Wexford and that she “didn’t have the radio on” while doing so.

    The plague to be avoided in the next five or six weeks is not England fans. It is not football. It is not jingoistic British tabloids. It is the volcanic outpouring of articles about the fate of the `World Cup Widow’. These are pieces of literature which you should not let your servant read, let alone your wife. Let us, in the spirit of noble dissent down through the ages, just say, down with this sort of thing.

    Golf Widows we feel genuine compassion for. We would seriously consider taking part in a Telethon to eradicate the problem. In fact, in the year of the Ryder Cup uber-bore, we would implore Bono to become involved at a serious level.

    However, World Cup Widows have, as my therapist says, “very little to be whingeing about”. They are beneath our compassion.

    One month every four years? Is it too much to ask? One month given to restoring some childhood romance to a brain which is befuddled with worry over miles to the gallon and the meaning of Micheal McDowell? Why begrudge us? It’s just 64 matches. Five thousand, seven hundred and sixty minutes of football, not including half times and pre and post match analysis. Allow half an hour for each game, presuming we have the right to record group games which are played simultaneously.

    That’s just another 1,920 minutes of trimmings. That’s 7,860 minutes in total.

    For the sake of argument we will allow 600 minutes for poring delightedly through this magazine and 60 minutes a day for following World Cup coverage in your newspaper of choice, which is 1,860 minutes over the 31 days. In all we have a media commitment of 2,460 minutes.

    Thus, once every four years, in a very intense period of spiritual renewal, we ask for just 10,140 minutes of grace. In other words, if you spaced out the time devoted to faithful observance over those four years (or 1,460 days), just under seven minutes a day would be devoted to the World Cup. Maximum.

    For this the supplicant is rewarded by the arid scent of burning martyr wafting in from the front garden as the World Cup Widow pushes the rusty old blade mower back and forth past the window while wearing an expression of noble but conspicuous suffering.

    As Brian Clough said, it only takes a second to score a goal. It takes more than a second to shut the window and draw the curtains. Somewhere, someone is going to miss a goal being scored.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    (contd)

    “The victimhood cult of the World Cup Widow, devoid as it is of any aspiration towards parity of esteem, has given rise to the dangerous notion of reparation. In this the year of the great SSIA orgy, the twin concepts of guilt and reparation are dangerous things to be fooling around with. To prevent overheating of the economy the government would do well to provide subsidies for gift-wrapped power mowers from May through June.”

    – Tom Humphries, the Irish Times

    Priceless. Great stuff on the joys of watching England go out too, and how the emergence of a sense that it’s wrong to cheer against England has been one of the major downsides to the end of the Troubles. (Another being BBCNI offering home-produced comedy!)

  • Animus

    Couldn’t you have just provided a link?!

  • Rory

    The thought of these fans paying women for sex is certainly upsetting, Animus, but the idea that any woman rather might voluntarily submit to the sexual overtures of an English soccer yob is altogether even more distressing.

    As the bright young thing in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Vile Bodies’ never tired of uttering, “Too, too sick-making, darling!”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Animus

    Thought I’d help out all of those who don’t have an Irish Times subscription.

  • Miss Fitz

    I enjoyed that Billy, thanks.

    I may know what the batteries are for, but that would be telling. Mind you, I can understand why there would be a run on them during this season of ball-playing