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Loaned Goals- FIFA 2010

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Amiya Sinha:

FOR a month, starting on June 11th, the eyes of half the world will be rolling in exasperation, boredom or indifference. The eyes of the other half will be glued to television and computer screens in living rooms, bars and (admit it) offices, watching soccer matches beamed from South Africa. The FIFA World Cup, the biggest international festival of the most popular sport on the planet, is about to kick off.

Because a vast, global audience is worth a fortune in broadcasting and marketing rights, FIFA, football’s global governing body, can expect a healthy profit from Africa’s first World Cup, even though it recently had to find an extra $100m to make sure everything would be ready on time. Citigroup, a bank, estimates that the previous tournament, in Germany in 2006, yielded $1.8 billion. Most of what FIFA makes is reinvested in the game–for example, in coaching youngsters.

The players in South Africa are employed not by FIFA or the 200-odd national federations affiliated to it but by clubs, chiefly in Europe. Some, such as Lionel Messi, of Barcelona and Argentina, joined their clubs as boys. There are few other industries in which businesses must lend their employees to a higher authority, but FIFA obliges clubs to do just that. In effect, FIFA and its affiliates can use their monopoly over football to borrow clubs’ best assets (and sometimes return them tired or damaged). Like it or not, the clubs must comply.

Players must be released not only for the World Cup and its qualifying matches, but also for regional tournaments and friendlies (matches unrelated to a competition). Clubs face losing players to international calls from all parts of the globe, not just to their own national teams. The damage to the club can be severe. Michael Essien, a Ghanaian star, has not played for Chelsea, his London club, since being crocked in training for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. It is not the first time he was injured while playing for his country. He is missing the World Cup too.

Over half of the non-Europeans in South Africa play for European clubs. There is even a North Korean, who plays in Russia. European clubs are the biggest employers of the talent in South Africa. Of the 736 players in the 32 final squads, 545 are with European teams; 385 ply their trade in the five richest leagues (though not always in the top division).

The conflict between club and country is one of the oldest in football. But as more money has flowed into the game, players have become much more valuable. Football’s labour market, like many others, has become globalised. Internazionale, the Milanese team that last month won the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition, took the field without a single Italian. And the number of important international matches has risen. South American countries have had to play 18 games in qualifying for recent World Cups; for 1990 they played only four.

National calls can be ducked occasionally. It is remarkable how often players sustain a slight injury on the eve of a friendly. A few years ago Europe’s leading clubs seemed to be prepared to contemplate a breach with FIFA. But the success of the Champions League, created by UEFA, the European confederation, has changed this: it provides leading clubs with more games and hence more money. Another factor is that most players gladly pull on the national shirt, especially for a World Cup. Keeping your staff happy is good management.

These days the European Club Association (ECA), founded in 2008, prefers a different approach. In the ECA’s first year it agreed with FIFA and UEFA on a system of payments for players in the World Cup and UEFA’s quadrennial tournament. For the World Cup, all clubs–not just in Europe–will receive about $2,000 per player per day, amounting to $40m in all. This is styled not as compensation but as “a reward for the contribution to the success of the tournament”. This may be tiny for behemoths like Barcelona or Chelsea, but helps poorer clubs.

There is no similar deal for other regional tournaments, such as the Copa America, in South America, and the African cup. These take place every two years; worse, the African event is in the middle of the European season (though it is now a little more conveniently timed).

Coaches still grumble, but clubs do not want to fight over the African confederation’s main source of revenue. Non-European players are not asked to travel outside the continent for friendlies more than once a season–which explains why teams such as Argentina and Brazil sometimes play in Europe. And clubs gain if their players do well on the international stage and go up in value. But bones of contention remain, notably insurance. It is bad enough having your business’s assets broken by strangers who pay little for the privilege; even worse when you must cover the risk.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz pursuing Economics (1st Yr.) from Ramjas College, University of Delhi. Football is his religion.  Writing has always been one of his areas of interest.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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