Remote Control: Saturday 14, 2014

‘The ball is small, but the meaning is much bigger’

Saturday, 14th June 2014, 7:00 am
Entertainment news

This month a report claimed the BBC and Channel 4 were facing a battle to retain young viewers in the face of the relentless growth of Google’s YouTube platform.

They just don’t turn to the channels to find something to watch.

BBC’s portfolio of channels by young people, aged between 25 and 34, fell by 12 per cent between 2010 and 2013.

A prime example of what you could have watched was on last weekend, the football.

Last Sunday’s final.

You didn’t watch it; it was actually a poor match.

Ellan Vannin suffered an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat to Countea Di Nissa after a stalemate.

What am I on about?

The Conifa World Cup.

It was streamed live on pay per view, to most countries, for just 15 euros.

Note Live Broadcast not available in the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey.

The tournament was hosted in somewhere as exotic as Brail, but there were no deaths in the construction of the stadia or nightly news stories of protests.

Yup, the FA Sápmi was awarded the tournament for the Sápmi region, without any hawking of princes or bungs for votes.

All games held in the city of Östersund in Sweden, with the eight teams including Iraqi Kurdistan, Tamil Eelam peoples from the Sri Lanka diaspora, the Isle of Man’s Ellan Vannin, South Sudan breakaway representatives Darfur (their players all live in refugee camps in neighbouring Chad), and the Harry Potter-sounding Abkhazia from the disputed Black Sea region (who probably won’t qualify next time as they’ll be back under the yoke of Russia).

But most surprising were three-time champions Padania, the Italian Lega Nord breakaway representatives.

Lovely; refugees, the landless, the powerless, the about-to-be-colonised and the fascistic – who says football doesn’t bring people together?

The Italian goosesteppers appeared to be on form, with their carbohydrate-rich pasta diet helping them to see off Darfur’s refugees 20-0.

Oh, and they had superstar Mario Balotelli’s younger brother Enoch Barwuah, who bagged two goals.

But, away from the match streams, this is perfect YouTube material.

It’s home to the official song – Helin Aro - Go – a potential Balearic summer classic.

The #NewHeroes videos on YouTube are lovely six-minute snapshots of the history of the particular landless peoples, with messages of hope from participation in the tournament.

EP3 – Kurdistan is an astonishing sense of comradeship from a region of none.

Then there’s Former Everton keeper Thomas Myhre offering a supporting message to ConIFA World Football #newheroes.

And instead of diamond earrings, bloated contracts, image right deals and agents working behind the scenes in Manaus for a transfer, have a look at the Kurdish players dancing to something that sounds like Last Rhythm from the rave days mixed by a north African.

“The ball is small, but the meaning is much bigger,” is what Darfur United goalie Ismail said.

The Darfur United blog says: “They will know that, over the past 11 years, they’ve been confined to refugee camps, dealing with loss, lack of opportunity and the unknown. Now, at least for a short time, they have the microphone and the attention. They get to speak freely.”

Ismail added: “Being here in beautiful Ostersund for the World Football Cup has a much bigger meaning for our players, a meaning that carries far beyond 90 minutes of play on the pitch, kicking around a small ball.”

Puts the World Cup, and TV, in perspective.

Alan Burrows