Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Politics and The Game, Part Five

1- Jesus Gil and Adolfo Valencia, 1995
The ever-controversial Atletico Madrid President Jesus Gil was unsatisfied with his Colombian Forward Adolfo Valencia during the 1994/95 season.  After a goalless draw with Logrones in April 1995. He made statements that many believed crossed the line, when he evoked the murder of Andres Escobar during the 1994 World Cup, by saying about Valencia "I'll cut that black's head off. Snow White should come with her seven dwarfs. He should go back to Colombia to see if they really kill him"
Colombia’s Ambassador in Spain had to intervene and condemn the xenophobic statements.

Photo From: World Soccer, November 2002
(Jesus Gil)

Photo From: Don Balon-Appendice Extra Liga 9495
(Adolfo Valencia at Atletico Mdrid)

2- Albania and the Spain, 1991
Albania were to host Spain at Tirana on December 18, 1991 to complete the 1992 UEFA European Championship qualifiers in their group.
However, the political situation in Albania was so turbulent that it was decided to cancel the match. In any case, both teams were already eliminated, it was therefore an inconsequential match.

3- Romania’s King Carol II, 1930
For the 1930 World Cup, most of Romania’s players worked for an English Oil Company. The company had threatened dismissals should any worker participate and miss work (they had requested three months paid leave absence).
Romania’s King Carol II, who was very determined to have Romania participate, threatened that he would shut down the company if players were not granted leave and naturally the Oil Company complied.

4- Perspolis and the Shah, 1967
The rise to prominence of Tehran Club Perspolis had much to do with the politics of the day.
There was another Tehran team called ‘Shahin’ in the 50s and 60s.
Their main rivals‘Taj (now Esteghalal) were the favorite team of Iran’s Military class.
It is said that the Military officers, through false rumors, convinced the Shah to order the disbandment of Shahin.
Most of the Shahin players moved to the new unknown club Perspolis and that is how Perspolis established themselves as a power.

Photo From: Unknown (most likely Donyahe Varzesh or Keyhann Varzeshi)
(Perspolis Tehran squad from the 1970s)

5- Colombia and the 1986 World Cup
Colombia were officially designated to host the 1986 World Cup through the lobbying of its President Misael Pastrana Borrero.
Borrero had wanted to use the World Cup as a platform to spend on many projects including Stadia.
But the rise of the ‘19th of April Movement’ Guerillas, as well as the intensification of the Drug Wars, drew concerns about its ability not only to host but also provide safety.

President Barrero withdrew his Nation from hosting and the rights went to Mexico.

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