surinenglish

World Cup injustice

Half the country is currently glued to the television and listening out for football results, while the other half is wishing the World Cup were over, so that things can get back to normal and conversations will stop focusing on the VAR, the goalkeeper's mistakes, the disconcerting surprises and the odds at the bookies.

Experiencing the World Cup in Marbella is a privilege that few value highly enough. There can't be many more events that, once every four years, allow us to fully appreciate the cosmopolitan character of the town. For a whole month its balconies, businesses and cafeterias are adorned with flags from diverse corners of the world. To be able to watch the different communities in different parts of the town sharing their emotions surrounded by the colours that identify their cultures and roots is a circumstance that makes us realise how lucky we are to live in this town.

Looking at it carefully, this multicolour and multicultural festival, with people gathering together around television screens in neighbourhood bars and cafes, seems much more authentic than some of the images coming over from Russia. There is one aspect that really makes you stop and think. The sports correspondents tell us that the countries with the most travelling fans in the Moscow stands are curiously not the prosperous European nations but the so-called "emerging" or "developing" countries, euphemisms that are used to avoid more accurate definitions, such as "underdeveloped" or "Third World" -definitions that have suspiciously fallen into disuse, as if not using them might make reality go away.

Some might prefer to put this paradox down to the passion (irrational, like all passions) that football arouses in these countries. But these massive trips, which cost thousands of euros and are prohibitive for most households, especially in countries that cannot guarantee a minimum income for the vast majority of their populations, bear witness to how the distribution of wealth is managed in these underdeveloped countries. To see thousands of Mexicans, Argentinians, Brazilians or Colombians in Russia, outnumbering the Germans, Spaniards or Britons would be fantastic if it weren't empirical evidence of an atavistic injustice and the ever-growing social gap that divides the populations of these countries.