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Is Football Increasingly Becoming The Hotbed Of Hatemongers?

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By Karan Singh:

I can never understand why some crazed fans bring in hatred into the world of sports. A few of my friends, including myself, have been loving / living football for over a decade and a half now and still applaud the performance of a rival club or a player who does not have us in his fan club.There have been many occasions when we scoff, mock and resort to envy which borders on un-healthy, but hatred … never! That word should never have a place in the world of sport.

This stems from the recent spectacle that concluded at the Old Trafford earlier this week. A match billed as the mother of all matches in the Europe’s elite football competition. A bold tactical move, beating the enemy at its own game till about 2/3rds of the match, a red card and the consequential loss later, the world has moved on; so have the manager, players and supporters of the club (about 75 thousand inside the ground and more than a hundred times that number outside). Yet, the hatred from rivals, a few pundits and proclaimed ‘supporters’ of other clubs is palpable.

football

The problem with a club like Manchester United is that its brand is so powerful and so far reaching, it has started attracting the ignorant and the juvenile by the droves, lot more than connoisseurs and the educated. I am a member of multiple football forums across the world and I read thousands of words everyday where people from far corners let loose their PDA. Some of them mean it because they know the history, the manager, the players and what the club stands for. But, most of them write in because they want an association with a name that’s cool and ensures their lesser knowledgeable connections hem and haw in awe.

This is where precisely the ‘haters’ bandwagon steps in. I refuse to name any specific club(s); even when I’m tantalizingly tempted to. Supporters who have taken the virtual social world by storm by digressing the entire attention from the red card (which by any stretch of imagination was NOT fair) and how the game was played before hand to discussing United paying referees, being called hypocrites, sore losers and bad sports.

I have absolutely no problem with banter — in fact, football would be so dull without it. Imagine living a life without friends and siblings (read squabbles and nit-picks). However, I do have a problem when the ‘hater’ gang goes out of the way to make comments that hit below the belt. Haters, who in many ways belong to the ignorant class of the football world who have no idea about what their chosen club stands for, forget about their history, legends of the past or even trophies won. In fact, funnily, there are a lot of guys who choose a favourite club based on how their jersey is designed, the look of the logo, the sponsors, and the coolness quotient of the name.

Another reason why these mofos have sprouted up in the recent past is because it’s ‘cool’ to hate the Manchester Uniteds, Real Madrids and Barcelonas in the world of football. Noveau-riche clubs with wealthy investments made via the Middle East / Russia are the toast of the day (I did name drop eh?). Expensive players earning over the roof wages every week representing the growing tribe of the modern day mercenaries in sport

If I may: when it comes to English football, Manchester United is the only club that has stood in front of all challengers over the past two decades. Liverpool were steadily and surely knocked off their perch in the (late eighties &) nineties as the powerhouse of English football, in came Arsenal carried by Wenger with his group of invincibles to be dislodged in the early 2000’s, Chelsea with the Special One came in with blank cheques signed from Russia and lasted a couple of years in the middle of the decade followed swiftly by the emergence of investments funded by the Arabs. There has been one, and only one club that has survived all these fights as a boxer who takes on the best opponents, bout after bout, knocking them out one by one, and still retains the same tenacity and mental strength, ready to take on bigger opponents. If this does not tell you something about the toughness quotient about this club, nothing will.

A final concluding thought that would sum this piece up: pardon those who join the boo-effing-hoo tirade about some of us getting personal about abuse directed at their clubs. If you love sports, it has to be all heart. If not, it is an ostensible certificate of your frivolity

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  1. Shilpa Pandey

    i completely agree …good article!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)’.

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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.

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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.

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

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