Gold, Franc-incensed and Emir

1 min
December 23, 2022
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Karl Marx famously said that Religion was the opiate of the masses, while legendary Liverpool Football managers Bill Shankly said Football “wasn’t just a matter of life and death, it was more important than that”. Certainly, in these troubled times it has been amazing how ‘real life’ has been suspended these last few weeks, thus we might ask, is Football, especially as represented by the World Cup, now a global Religion? Football is, of course, a consumer good with no physical aspect, its adherents pay large amounts of money but receive no ‘goods’ in return. As such it plays perfectly into the new Globalism of ‘You will own nothing and you will be happy’.

Karl Marx + Bill Shankly = Football is religion

Christianity has long been ‘accused’ of borrowing a lot from the traditional Pagan festivals around the winter solstice, so perhaps it is not surprising that this new Global Religion of Football is doing the same in return and certainly there seems to be a lot of iconography around this latest world cup final, the first to be held at this time of year and the first to be held in the Middle East.

To demonstrate its world status, the draw of the World cup helpfully smoothed the path for a final between the ‘Old World’ of Europe and the New World of Latin America (otherwise it’s just like the Euros) with the added advantage for the hosts Qatar that players from their own team, PSG, were represented heavily on both sides of the draw. Indeed of the eleven PSG players in the tournament all were represented as far as the quarter finals, plus of course two of the biggest ‘stars’, Mbappe and Messi, appeared in great rivalry in the final itself. (Perhaps the computer models that were trying to predict the winners needed to include this fact in their algorithm?)

The script(ure) further ensured that the first final ever to be held in the Christmas period was held in the Middle East, between one of the oldest nations, France, and one of the youngest, Argentina, whose ‘modern’ origins came over a 1000 years after the reign of Charlemagne, with both teams competing for a third World Cup win, France obviously being the reigning champions. Ironically, Argentina, famously a country ‘founded’ by immigrants from Europe, but almost all of whose team now play back in Europe on a regular basis, played a French team where an astonishing 92% of the squad are immigrants, or children of immigrants from other countries, up from 87% in the last world cup. Thus while the teams represent nations, the players are global.

The first biblical reference appears in the names of the Argentine squad, with two Christians, two Angels and, fittingly, one Gabriel. Then there is the picture at the final ceremony; we couldn’t help thinking of the Three Kings or Magi – Gianni Infantino as Caspar, Macron as Melchior and the Emir of Qatar as Balthasar, as the (not at all poor) shepherds (managers) watched their flocks of players.

The Three ‘Kings’ greet the Messi-ah

Thus Gianni Infantino, the Head of Fifa, and the ‘high priest’ of the new religion, who after his ‘eccentric’ opening speech, described, fittingly for this post by the Guardian in religious terms, was here to hand out Gold – in the form of Golden Gloves, Golden boot and Gold medals, (but definitely not any gold to anyone else). Next, Emmanual Macron represents the Franc-incensed (not really – although there has been a lot of fuss about the Argentina goalkeeper in the press afterward – but we needed to make the headline work!) M. Macron is notionally there as President of France although the President of Argentina didn’t come, but really as ‘King’ of the globalists – to extend the iconography, whose other ‘religion’ is now also celebrated every year at COP, also in the winter season and also this year in the Middle East. Interesting that for a secular country, France under Macron have been ‘getting closer’ to the Catholic Church with the Pope being, er, Argentinian and that Macron himself declared in his first term that he would Rule like Jupiter, a God. Finally we have the Emir (further helping our tortured title) with the ruler of Qatar as perhaps less a King than A Magi, having built one of the richest countries in the world, and funded this entire World Cup, on the back of the ‘miracle’ or magic of turning ‘ the air into liquid and thence to fire’.

But the clincher is of course the name of the ‘Star’ of the winning team, the man on stage , the Argentine Captain, Lionel Messi, or as he is sometimes known, the Messiah.

Thus 36 years after Ma(ra)donna – and the Hand of God- last won for Argentina (and 9 months before Lionel Messi was born), Argentina have won again in one of the best and most thrilling finals anyone can remember. Opiate indeed.

The Old Religion

Argentinian Pope greet crowds in Rome

The New Religion

Argentinian crowds greet Messi-ah in Buenos Aires

Much as we like football, we nevertheless prefer the old religion, so we will be celebrating Christmas in the traditional way and wish a very Merry Christmas to all our readers!

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