Putin’s Turkish Football Fans, by Declan Hayes

Though racism should be kicked out of football, so too should the Blatters, Platinis and Zelenskys of this world who insist on Ukraine’s sullied flag dominating their games worldwide,

Turkish football side Fenerbahce are in the soup. Football governing board UEFA have just fined them 50,000€ for chanting Putin’s name to antagonize rival team Dynamo Kiev.

If football hooliganism is a little beneath you, let me be your guide. UEFA, like FIFA, football’s other governing body, is even more corrupt than either the Ukrainian or American regimes. That is why the 2022 World Cup is being held, sans Russia, in the baker’s oven that is Qatar, whose team would be hard pushed to beat the postage stamp states of Andorra, San Marino or the Vatican, none of which are in the running to host future tournaments. It is also the reason Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the bosses of those outfits, face trial for mass embezzlement.

Football’s governing bodies are thus the last people who should be allowed to accuse anyone of anything. As regards antagonizing rival teams and supporters, as the English and Scottish leagues have just begun their seasons, teams from Lands’ End to John o’ Groats will be hurling out abuse that would make even Galatasray, Turkey’s most infamous team, blush. Though chanting is, for good and just as often for bad, an integral part of the game, there is but one British team that regularly gets fined for such “laddish” behavior. That team is Glasgow Celtic, whose supporters regularly voice their support for Palestine, which they also generously financially support.

The snowflakes of Dynamo Kiev are worth a mention. Once one of the Soviet Union’s greatest teams and the inspiration for Escape to Victory and a number of other movies, this once mighty team is one of a number of Ukrainian teams that has degenerated into a recruiting ground for Azov Nazis ever since the CIA’s Maidan coup. And Nazis, of course, are notoriously thin skinned and easily triggered, not least when Putin is put into the frame.

Not that Dynamo Kiev’s Ultras will be too worried as their team won 2-1 and the tears a few hostile chants in Istanbul may cause will be forgotten as they celebrate by strapping some more undesirables to the lampposts around their stadium.

Football is supposed to be the beautiful game and there is indeed some beauty in watching children adore their idols and grown men support the same team through thick and thin from childhood into old age. But the beautiful game has its dark side, not only with gangsters like Blatter and Platini but with more sinister figures like Mussolini, Hitler, Zelensky and Franco, none of whom were sportsmen of any note. Mussolini promoted the Italian national team as a means of promoting himself. Franco did something similar with the great Real Madrid teams of the 1950s and 1960s and Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games were the definitive master class in propaganda. Zelensky, alas, is left with the droppings of the Eurovision Song Contest and with the dregs of Dynamo Kiev’s Ultras, who spearhead a national and international network of like minded thugs one trifles with at one’s peril.

Although Dynamo Kiev’s Ultras are now preoccupied with strapping children to lampposts, in more halcyon days, they delighted in dressing up in the robes of the Ku Klux Klan to wind up blacks playing on opposing Ukrainian teams, whose supporters sported banners proclaiming the greatness of Adolf Hitler, as UEFA officials smiled benignly at their banter. Such happy days are gone, alas, like our youth too soon. Still, the innocent joys of youth must give way to the responsibilities of adulthood and the Ultras of Dynamo Kiev have now joined their fellow thugs from Shakhtar Donetsk in committing the sorts of atrocities their forefathers got up to during the Nazi occupation. And, when waxing about Ukraine’s footballing heritage, let’s not forget Karapty Lviv, the Pride of Galica, who famously won the 1969 Soviet Cup in true Roy of the Rovers style but which has since degenerated into being the plaything of Zelensky’s corrupt oligarchs and the fascist militias they control.

For sport has always had a militaristic air to it, not only from ancient Olympic times but more recently when the British and French armies codified most of today’s popular games and in the Second World War when the Waffen SS used sport to bond their last bunch of recruits, before sending them into the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler’s last throw of the dice.

Hitler is not the only buffoon who has lost big at the roulette table. Ukraine’s Ultras, led by the nose by Zelensky’s corrupt oligarchs, now share that distinction with their Austrian idol and, though many of them have recently died fighting for the honor of Zelensky’s bank balance, the tragedy is that Zelensky’s backers, like Hitler at war’s end, are still at large to sacrifice more innocents on the altars of their greed and their selfishness.

Though football, as its best pundits continually attest, is, at heart, a simple game, because it is needlessly complicated and sullied by those gangsters who stand behind UEFA and Ukraine’s various fascist crews, Turks shouting support for Putin is the least of its problems. Even the Guardian’s Luke Harding, who is closer to the heart of Britain’s intelligence network than a Dynamo Kiev ultra is to the Azov criminals, has said as much, when he was forced to admit that Ukraine’s football fans are the dangerous, violent bunch of fascist thugs the world and its mother knows them to be.

Though racism should be kicked out of football, so too should the Blatters, Platinis and Zelenskys of this world who insist on Ukraine’s sullied flag dominating their games worldwide, who are fine with Ukraine’s Ultras strapping children to lampposts, who insult and harrangue every known minority group but who throw a 50,000€ tizzy when a Turkish team most of us have never heard of wind up a bunch of traveling Ukrainian Nazis with an innocuous chant that would not pass muster on the terraces of GlasgowBirminghamLiverpool or London.

Source: Strategic Culture