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Sports are used for centuries to spread peace and harmony in society. They help in resolving the socio-political matters of the countries without using any force. International sports events like the FIFA World cup, Olympics and Asian Cups are significant examples of using sports to smoothen the relations of the countries. While cultures, ethnicity, and race can create division in the society, sports make sure to blend these differences so that no conflict could occur. For the evidence, two events will be analyzed belonging to politics and sports each. The idea is to assess the role of politics in that particular sports event and the role of games in the mentioned political event. One sports event is taken of 2004 AFC Asian Cup where the final match was played between China and Japan, but during the game, the fans of both the countries created a disturbance (CNN, 2004). The other event is political, taken from the football war which happened in 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras (Boniface, 1998). This was a 100-hour war between the two countries, boosted during the match and was heated at the end of games making the situation quite worse for both the countries.
Considering both the sports/politics events, it was seen that first sports event where politics interfered, took place in the near past, i.e. 2004. While the other event which was political but sports came in the way was occurred in 1969.
In 2004, the AFC Asian Cup was organized by China, and the final match of the mega event was between China and Japan. As the game started, the national anthem of both the countries was played in sequence. But the fans of both the countries expressed their hate for the opponent country because of the intense history they shared including the World War II. The bitter memories of the Second Sino-Japanese War and Nanjing Massacre were refreshed, and the fans became violent. The anti-Japanese slogans were chanted, and the players were harassed. When Japan defeated China in 3-1, the Chinese fans went on roads after the match and burned the Japanese flag in front of media (CNN, 2004).
The second event is political as there was already a war tension going on between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. Both the countries are located in Central America, and the conflict was socio-economic which was on land reforms and immigration. The event is famously known as football war because the tension was further escalated on the outset of the football qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup (Cable, 1969). The matters were heated in the first game and got worse in the second game leading to the violation on both the sides and Salvadorans were killed in retaliation by Honduras people. Thousands of people began to flee the country, and the countries entered into the mode of attack. OAS (Organization of American States) had to intervene, and Salvadoran troops then withdrew (Xinaris & Kassimeris, 2017).
Comparison and Contrast
The similarities between both the events are that fans interfered and led to the spread of hate between the countries which were involved in those events. Another analogy is, due to the adverse outcomes at the end of the games, the international reputation of the states was severely damaged. However, both the events also share some differences with each other. The contrasting view was that, in the 2004 event, the matters did not get much worse despite the horrible relations both the countries had, but in 1969 incident, people were killed, and 100-hour war was fought. In the 2004 event, pride was involved, and the reasons of conflict were illogical as it was a sports event and should be taken lightly by the fans. Whereas in 1969 incident, power and money were involved and the cause of the war was although socio-economic, but the reaction of people was illogical and exaggerated. In the 2004 event, politics intervened in an otherwise sports event whereas, in the 1969 game, sports intervened in a political issue making the scenario worse to handle. Conclusion
In both, the events, politics, and sports played a negative role and instead of resolving the issues made the situation difficult for countries to tolerate. Politics plays with the emotion of people, politicize the games, and eliminates the sportsmanship behavior in sports. The above events paved the way for politicizing the sports. In the 2004 event, no effective action was taken to stop the disturbances, whereas in 1969 event OAS intervened to resolve the conflict between the countries. This shows that the politicization of sports should not be supported as an audience loses interests in sports and an environment of hate is created. The professional attitude should be encouraged in this kind of events.
Boniface, P. (1998). Football as a Factor (and a Reflection) of International Politics. The international spectator, 33(4), 87-98.
Cable, V. (1969). The'Football War'and the Central American Common Market. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 658-671.
Xinaris, C., & Kassimeris, C. (2017). Politics and identity in European football: Cyprus in comparative context. In Sport and National Identities (pp. 60-76). Routledge.
CNN.com - Chinese riot after Japan win final - Aug 7, 2004. (2019). Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019, from http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SPORT/football/08/07/china.japan/
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