Radynski: Not a Single Word about Football

 [dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s 285 days left till the start of European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine. For the period of those 285 we should forget about football completely. We should stop following the results, the transfers, and the ratings. For we have found ourselves in a situation when each football transmission and each sport section in a daily are actually legitimizing the absurdities that take place during the preparations to the allegedly most important event in our nations’ history, forthcoming in 2012. I don’t mean the apocalypse, promised next year. The basic difference between the apocalypse and Euro 2012 is that after the latter’s end we shall actually have to somehow live in our countries.

As soon as we forget about football, we should look around attentively, since virtually everything going on around us serves the success of Euro2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Euro2012 is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I could devote many pages to prove this thesis, but I’d rather stick to my favorite example. Kyiv Aviation University has suddenly increased the number of places at its department of journalism (yes, Kyiv Aviation University schools journalists, but it’s a topic for a special blog entry). When asked about the motives of that increase, the university’s rector answered in a surprised voice: “Don’t you know that next year we’re holding Euro2012? We should graduate more journalists, in order to represent this extraordinary event at a corresponding level!”.

After hearing such an argument, who would accuse the rector of his close ties with the Minister of Education? All the more so since the latter’s current title is the Minister of Education, Science, Youth and Sport. Let’s leave him alone – in the end, the guy is responsible for the ultimate national project, probably the most important in the history of our young state. It just cannot fail, cause if it fails, we will probably have nothing to do but to dissolve our young state, since after Euro2012 all what will be left of it will probably be debts.

Of course, sports megaevents like the European Football Championship happen to be major successes. This usually applies to so-called First World countries – although soon after the event’s end some of them are forced into selling virtually everything that still belongs to the state (for instance, Greece after its Olympics, Portugal after its Euro-2004). Instead, in the so-called Third World, such events usually lead to catastrophies – not for the football fans or the official sponsors, of course, but for the economies of the states that are ‘too weak’ – ‘too weak’ to attract the investors and not having to pay for all the fun from their own budgets.

Euro 2012 promises to be an extraordinarily curious event from this point of view. For it will take place simultaneously in the two countries of the former ‘Second World’, one of which had advanced to the ‘First’, with the other desperately trying to deny it’s all the more obvious ‘Third-World’ position. Even if the two countries manage to conduct Euro2012 at a ‘corresponding level’, the aftermath of this event will be completely different for Poland and Ukraine. In the latter, no one is mentioning anymore the plans to construct something apart from the stadiums as part of the preparations for the championship. The rest of investments (roads, hospitals, railways) are referred to as ‘infrastructural’, that is the ones that should have been undertaken, if the urgent need to construct stadiums did not prevent the state from doing this. The state, shaken badly by the crisis and the never-ending political turmoil, with its infrastructure collapsing, has set
stadium construction as a number one priority. That’s why, if apocalypse is not awaiting us all next year, it may well await Ukraine’s economy in 2012.


Columnist, film maker, editor of Ukrainian Political Critique magazine.