Does football unite or divide people?
One of the good things about football is that it is accessible to a great many people, partly because it does not require expensive equipment. All that is needed, besides a ball, is a stretch of ground with a set of goalposts. Such football pitches are usually readily available in school grounds and in leisure areas provided by local
Because of its accessibility, football is a game which is played by many young people. Most of them are male, but increasingly some of the young players are female. Because so many young people play it, the game often acts as a bond among them. They have something in common that unites them.
Young people who decide to play a football match divide themselves into two teams of eleven players. This act at once unites and divides the players. All the players who are chosen to be on one side instantly feel a sense of unity. They have a common goal which unites them, and this is to beat the opposition
The need to win unites the members of one team, but it inevitably creates a division between this team and the opposing team. In the case of young people playing an informal game of football, this division is often no more than friendly rivalry. They may show great competitive spirit against the opposition during the game, but at the end of it, they are all good friends again. Any sense of division would have disappeared.
Sadly, this is not always the case with professional football players. They have a great sense of unity with their teammates, but because professional football is now big business, the sense of division between them and the players on the other side is often quite serious.
There are substantial profits to be made and the top players receive very high financial rewards. All this makes the need to win far greater than it is in an informal match played by young amateurs. The extent of the financial rewards means that the feelings towards the opposing team are stronger than just friendly rivalry. There is a definite sense of division and even, sometimes, of enmity.
It is unfortunate that people who engage in a sport should have such feelings towards the opposition. However, what is worse is the sense of division that exists among the football fans of some teams. Some football fans regard the fans of other teams, especially those teams which are seen as the closest rivals of their own team, as hated adversaries.
Football is extremely important in many countries, especially among the males. Far more people watch it, either in person at the pitch or on television, than play it and there are many very enthusiastic fans. There is a great sense of unity among the fans of a particular club, indicated by the wearing of scarves of the colours of their team. Sadly, there is also a great sense of division between the fans of rival teams and this is exacerbated by the wearing of team colours.
Unfortunately, this sense of division can lead to such a feeling of hatred towards the fans of the opposition that violence may ensue. Fans of rival teams, especially when they have consumed a lot of alcohol, sometimes begin to fight each other, often also attacking the police who are trying to stop the fights and causing damage to nearby property.
Such violence often erupts at international matches. An interest in a sport should unite the world. Sadly, violent football fans sometimes ensure that it divides it instead.