13 June 2013

Stupid Nationalist Tricks: Assimililation vs. Integration

The question here isn’t security. It’s universality. To play a sport in an official manner, under the auspices of any governing body (as opposed to doing it with your buddies in the back alley), also means abiding by the rules, including the regulations about the uniform. When it comes to soccer, this means the shoes have to respect some criteria. Players must wear shorts and a jersey with sleeves, matching the team’s colours. Jewelry is forbidden. Can one wear flip-flops, tennis shoes or cowboy boots? No. Can one wear a tank top, jeans, or play shirts and skins? No. Can one wear a turban, a baseball cap or ski goggles? No. Are these rules, common to all soccer federations in the world through FIFA, there to put constraints on the players’ freedoms of religion or expression? No. They are there to ensure everyone’s safety, sure, but also to ensure the uniformity and universality of the game, and also the sense of belonging to one’s team. This is important.

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