A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘soccer

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, Atlanta, Greenville, Sutera, Hong Kong

  • Québec premier François Legault might well be convinced to support the Pink Line subway route favoured by Montréal mayor Valérie Plante. Global News reports.
  • Guardian Cities reports on the popularity of the new soccer team of Atlanta in this perhaps unlikely locale.
  • The North Carolina city of Greenville is trying to work towards settling its racist past with a new park, CityLab reports.
  • Lorenzo Tondo at The Guardian reports on how new immigrants might save his father’s native village of Sutera in Sicily, but only if they are allowed to.
  • Bloomberg View notes that a bridge alone will not be enough to bind Hong Kong to the emergent Pearl River megalopolis.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes the hope of the controllers of Hayabusa2 to collect samples from asteroid Ryugu.
  • D-Brief takes a look at how ecologists in Hawaii are using bird song to encourage invasive species of birds to eat local plants.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes preliminary findings of astronomers suggesting that stars with relatively low amounts of metals might be more likely to produce potentially habitable Earth-size worlds.
  • The Frailest Thing’s L.M. Sacasas considers what, exactly, it means for a technology to be considered “neutral”.
  • At JSTOR Daily, Hope Reese interviews historian Jill Lepore about the crisis facing American institutions in the 21st century. Is there a way forward?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the ongoing catastrophe in Yemen, aggravated terribly by Saudi intervention and supported by the West.
  • Andrew Brownie at the LRB Blog notes how soccer in Brazil, producing stars against dictatorship like Sócrates in the early 1980s, now produces pro-Bolsonario figures.
  • The NYR Daily notes the resistance of the Bedouin of al-Khan al-Ahmar to resist their displacement by Israeli bulldozers.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how, among other things, extreme temperature swings make the Moon an unsuitable host for most observatories apart from radio telescopes.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the sheer scale of Russian immigration to Crimea after 2014, the number of migrants amounting to a fifth of the peninsula’s population.

[NEWS] Five cultural links: astronauts learning Chinese, hitchhiking, Catalonia, Croatia, Georgia

  • The BBC reports on how astronauts from Europe are starting to learn Chinese, the better to interacting with future fellow travelers.
  • MacLean’s takes a look at the practical disappearance of hitchhiking as a mode of travel in Canada, from its heights in the 1970s. (No surprise, I think, on safety grounds alone.)
  • PRI notes the practical disappearance of the quintessentially Spanish bullfight in Catalonia, driven by national identity and by animal-rights sentiment.
  • Transitions Online notes how the strong performance of Croatia at the World Cup, making it to the finals, was welcomed by most people in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Open Democracy notes how tensions between liberal and conservative views on popular culture and public life are becoming political in post-Soviet Georgia.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Mississauga, Kahnawake, Madrid, Helsinki, Mumbai

  • Croatian-Canadian fans in Mississauga were definitely organized and ready to celebrate the Croatian team playing in the World Cup finals. Global News reports.
  • People in Kahnawake are looking forward to an upcoming powwow, as a celebration of indigenous culture and a vehicle for reconciliation. Global News reports.
  • CityLab notes the progress that environmental initiatives in Madrid have had in bringing wildlife back to the Spanish capital.
  • Politico Europe reports on the mood in Helsinki on the eve of the Trump-Putin summit there. Avoiding a repetition of Munich was prominent in locals’ minds.
  • Namrata Kolachalam at Roads and Kingdoms reports from Mumbai on the negative environmental impact of a controversial statue of Marathi conqueror Shivaji on local fishing communities.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Anthro{dendum}’s Adam Fish looks at the phenomenon of permissionless innovation as part of a call for better regulation.
  • James Bow shares excerpts from his latest book, The Cloud Riders.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes how data from Voyager 1’s cosmic ray detectors has been used to study dark matter.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money begins a dissection of what Roe vs Wade meant, and means, for abortion in the United States, and what its overturn might do.
  • Ilan Stavans, writing for Lingua Franca at the Chronicle, considers the languages of the World Cup. The prominence of Spanish in the United States is particularly notable.
  • The LRB Blog gathers together articles referencing the now-departed Boris Johnson. What a man.
  • The Map Room Blog reports/u> on Matthew Blackett’s remarkably intricate transit map of Canada.
  • Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution links to a study from Nature exploring how shifts in the definition of concepts like racism and sexism means that, even as many of the grossest forms disappear, racism and sexism continue to be recognized if in more minute form.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel looks at how a Japanese experiment aimed at measuring proton decay ended up inaugurating the era of neutrino astronomy, thanks to SN1987A.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on how a Russian proposal to resettle Afrikaner farmers from South Africa to the North Caucasus (!) is, unsurprisingly, meeting with resistance from local populations, including non-Russian ones.
  • Linguist Arnold Zwicky takes a look at how, exactly, one learns to use the F word.

[PHOTO] Shopping for the World Cup in the parking lot at Galleria Mall

Every summer, a kiosk selling soccer merchandise sets up on the northeast corner of the Galleria Mall’s parking lot, at Dufferin and Dupont. In World Cup years like this one, the array of merchandise offered becomes particularly diverse.

Shopping for the World Cup (1) #toronto #galleriamall #wallaceemerson #dufferinstreet #dupontstreet #shopping #sports #football #flags

Shopping for the World Cup (2) #toronto #galleriamall #wallaceemerson #dufferinstreet #dupontstreet #shopping #sports #soccer #football #balls

Shopping for the World Cup (3) #toronto #galleriamall #wallaceemerson #dufferinstreet #dupontstreet #shopping #sports #soccer #football #jerseys

Shopping for the World Cup (4) #toronto #galleriamall #wallaceemerson #dufferinstreet #dupontstreet #shopping #sports #soccer #football #hats #caps #portugal #brazil

Shopping for the World Cup (5) #toronto #galleriamall #wallaceemerson #dufferinstreet #dupontstreet #shopping #sports #soccer #football

Written by Randy McDonald

June 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto Metros-Croatia, 1976 Soccer Bowl Champions”

Torontoist’s Jamie Bradburn described the difficult birth of soccer in the Toronto in the 1960s.

Toronto sports fans needed a champion in 1976. The Argonauts hadn’t hoisted the Grey Cup since 1952. The Maple Leafs were nine years into their Stanley Cup drought. The Toros had fled to the hockey hotbed of Birmingham, Alabama. The Blue Jays were preparing to launch their first season, so who knew how long it would be before they reached the World Series?

The Metros-Croatia victory in the 1976 Soccer Bowl was an underdog story the city could embrace. The team endured a strife-filled season, not enhanced by a league which disliked the ethnic tenor of the team’s name and was annoyed that a perennially indebted franchise with meagre attendance made the finals instead of a premier market like New York.

As soccer exploded as an amateur sport across North America in the mid-1960s, veteran sports entrepreneurs, especially NFL owners, saw an opportunity for a professional gold mine. Two rival leagues began play in 1967: the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and the United Soccer Association (USA). Both were confident that soccer was the sport of the future. “We won’t go broke in soccer,” declared Jack Kent Cooke after a USA meeting at the Royal York Hotel in February 1967. “It will succeed. I’ve never backed a loser and I don’t intend to start now.”

Cooke may have later regretted that statement. While he had tasted success with Toronto’s Maple Leafs baseball team, had a winner with basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers, and got the Los Angeles Kings off the ground, he wasn’t so lucky with the USA’s Los Angeles Wolves. Nor were the other owners in either league. Heavy financial losses, coupled with a looming anti-trust lawsuit, prompted the leagues to merge in January 1968, forming the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The merger left a complicated legal situation in Toronto. Both leagues were attracted to our city by its multicultural diversity and growing amateur and semi-pro soccer infrastructure—in youth soccer, participation across Metro rose from 5,000 in 1964 to 17,500 in 1969, while senior leagues steadily added teams. With the merger, the NPSL’s Falcons agreed to buy out USA’s Toronto City, which was owned by Knob Hill Farms proprietor/future Maple Leafs owner Steve Stavro, who quickly wondered where his first payment was. He was also miffed that the Falcons wanted a piece of the annual promotion of a match between European teams he retained as part of the settlement. Stavro threatened legal action to prevent the Falcons from opening their home season at Varsity Stadium in May 1968.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

[LINK] “The Downfall of a Russian Soccer Team”

The New Yorker‘s Sean Williams reports about the potentially existential problems facing Dynamo Moscow, problems possibly part of Russian soccer generally. The teams’ economic bases are too narrow, it seems.

The Russian soccer team Dynamo Moscow has its roots in a factory club that was founded in 1887, at the Morozov mill, on the city’s outskirts. In the spring of 1923, the club was co-opted by Vladimir Lenin’s feared secret police, the Cheka, and given its current name. (The playwright Maxim Gorky is credited with coining the club motto, “Sila v Dvizhenii,” or “Strength in Motion.”)* By the mid-thirties, Moscow was home to five major teams, four of which represented different arms of the Soviet state: CDKA, now CSKA, was the team of the Red Army; Dynamo, the secret police; Lokomotiv, the state railways; and Torpedo was the club of the city’s sprawling Torpedo-ZiL automobile factory. The exception was Spartak Moscow, founded by the Young Communist League and the local soccer hero Nikolai Starostin, who named his club after the gladiator who revolted against Roman rule. Spartak forged an identity as “the people’s club,” which is why, even today, it has more fans at its games than any of its rivals can boast.

Dynamo, led by Lavrenti Beria, a vicious sexual predator and head of the N.K.V.D.—the police force that succeeded the Cheka, and was succeeded in turn by the K.G.B.—won the first Soviet championship, in 1936. A bitter rivalry between Beria’s Dynamo and Spartak—support for whom represented a small act of everyday protest against the politburo—ensued. The enmity reached its peak in 1939, when Beria ordered a cup semifinal that Spartak had won to be replayed, one month later. Spartak won the replay, 1–0, and went on to win that year’s trophy. In 1942, Beria wreaked his revenge, sending Starostin to the gulag for ten years for “praising bourgeois sports.” (Upon Stalin’s death, Beria was arrested by Nikita Khrushchev, and, in 1953, at the age of fifty-four, he was executed.) Dynamo dominated in the nineteen-forties, but it has not won the domestic league since 1976.

In October, I visited Khimki, a suburb of Moscow, to watch the latest installment of Dynamo versus Spartak, known as Russia’s oldest derby. The prestige of the contest has dimmed as Dynamo has been eclipsed by crosstown rivals CSKA and by Zenit St. Petersburg, a team founded in 1925 and bought, in 2005, by the state-owned gas company, Gazprom. Zenit is now littered with stars and competing well at Europe’s top table, the Champions League. Meanwhile, both Dynamo and CSKA are playing their matches at Arena Khimki, an eighteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirty-six-seat stadium built to house a club from the surrounding suburb, and awaiting new arenas of their own. As I watched Spartak come back from a 2–1 deficit to win, 3–2, on what was practically the final kick of the match, a local writer turned to me. “It’s the curse,” he said, referencing Beria, for whose sins Dynamo, many say, has yet to atone. But the club’s predicament owes more to the topsy-turviness of Russian soccer than to some historic hoodoo.

Russian soccer has rarely been run in parallel with its European neighbors. The Russian Premier League took shape during the Soviet era, and it is studded with clubs run not as businesses but as the playthings of oligarchs, despots, and, chiefly, the Russian state. However, a landmark ruling last year by the sport’s European governing body, UEFA, may, eventually, change that. Under the organization’s Financial Fair Play (F.F.P.) rules, Dynamo, which is funded by a state bank and by Boris Rotenberg, Russia’s hundredth-wealthiest person and Vladimir Putin’s former judo partner, was found to have grossly manipulated its finances and, consequently, was expelled from European competition.

Now its biggest international stars have left for teams in other countries, and the once-powerful side is languishing at the bottom end of the Premier League table. What’s more, people have begun to speculate that the fall of Dynamo could precipitate trouble for the country’s other major teams. For Russia, the timing of the case could hardly be more awkward: in just a few years, it will host the World Cup, and the Kremlin is keen to project global power and prestige. With Dynamo shamed, and more teams potentially to follow, the standing of Russian soccer could be in tatters before a single ball of the tournament is kicked.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

[NEWS] Some links on the November 2015 Paris attacks (#parisattacks)

  • Wikipedia’s page on the November 2015 Paris attacks is a good basic source of information, and further links.
  • Bloomberg had a collection of articles, one looking at how Parisians are coping the day after, another connecting this to France’s role fighting Islamist groups from West Africa to Syria.
  • CBC shared early social media footage.
  • Slate has terrible reports from the slaughter in the Bataclan theatre, which turns out to have been named after an amusing-sounding Offenbach operetta, Ba-ta-clan.
  • The Toronto Star noted how soccer fans at the Stade de France remained calm, even exiting singing “La Marseillaise”.
  • Vox, helpfully, notes that using these attacks to justify an exclusion of Syrian refugees overlooks that these are the people the refugees are fleeing.
  • The Atlantic‘s controversial article examining the roots of ISIS in Islam is a useful starting point, although this critical examination at Lawyers, Guns and Money is also worth noting.
  • MacLean’s shared reactions from around the world.
  • Wired reported on how the Facebook status updates of one Benjamin Cazenoves, trapped in the Bataclan, were widely shared, and also notes the wide use of the #porteouverte hashtag.
  • Quartz reports on the universal condemnation of the attacks throughout the Muslim world.
  • Esquire argues that the Middle Eastern oil states that funded ISIS should be held to task.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever makes the point that buying into ISIS’ rhetoric is a trap we must avoid.

[ISL] “Is East Timor Illegally Putting Together a National Soccer Team With Brazilian Players?”

Jack Kerr of Vice reports on something that actually does look quite sketchy.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation may be turning a blind eye to the illegal movement of players into Asia.

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor has been improving steadily in recent years, and just recently moved ahead of Indonesia, the country it broke away from at the turn of the century, in the FIFA rankings.

[. . .]

A large part of Timor’s improvement has been done through the recruitment of Brazilians with no discernable links to this poorest nation in Asia. And neither FIFA, the AFC or the local FA will say how they qualify.

According to FIFA regulations, a player born in one country can play for another country if they have lived there for five years as an adult, and get citizenship. But none of Timor’s Brazilian contingent appear not to have lived or played in the half-island nation as adults—if at all.

[. . .]

They would also qualify to play for the Asian side if they had parents or grandparents from there. However, despite a Portuguese colonial legacy in Timor-Leste, there is no strong history of immigration between the two countries.

“Until 2000, I would say there was no migration, and since then it has been limited, mostly via marriage,” says Damien Kingsbury, a Melbourne professor who specialises in politics and security in Southeast Asia, particularly Timor-Leste.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm