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This report is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

The Beautiful Game Gabriel Josipovici
Some of us may be football fans as well as readers of poetry, but it has usually been taken for granted that not much unites the average football fan, who is often perceived as racist and no doubt a supporter of Brexit, and the readers of literature. Yet events that took place in the world of football in April, it seems to me, should lead us to question this apparent truism.

In the middle of April, out of the blue, some of Europe’s biggest and richest clubs, including Juventus in Italy, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool in England, announced that they were breaking away from their national leagues and were going to form their own superleague, playing each other on a weekly basis. Such a move had long been mooted and had been dreaded by the authorities, but in football, everyone knew, money spoke louder than loyalty and these teams, many of them (the English ones in particular) owned by foreign billionaires attempting to appeal to a worldwide TV audience, were, it was feared, likely to win out in any showdown. Yet in the event what happened was as cheering as it was unexpected. In England especially the fans revolted, and Boris Johnson, ever keen to show himself a man of the people, came out publicly to say that he would make sure the breakaway didn’t happen, even, if necessary, passing legislation to that effect. Within hours cracks began to appear in the united ...

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