The recent passing of Margareth Thatcher has create a debate about whether she deserves a minute’s silence or not in this weekend Premier League football matches. Wigan’s chairman requested a tribute for Baroness Thatcher at his side’s FA Cup semi-final against Millwall on Saturday but the idea was rejected. The FA, as institution, will not honour the former Prime Minister, but teams, as individuals, are allowed to keep a minute’s silence if they wish.
The fact is that with such a controversial personality been honoured, both loved and hated at the same rate, it is easy to imagine that the detractors would probably whistle during the minute’s silence. A demonstration of respect could, this way, turn into a demonstration of hate or any kind of negative feelings that have nothing to do with a football match.
But I want to go further. Why should a football field, or even other sport field or stadium, pay tribute to a politician? Does that personality have anything to do with sport? Did she represent the values of sport? The answer is no. In our modern society it is usual to use big gatherings of people for political purpouses, making an ideological use of crowded places. I could understand a football field paying tribute to a recently dead legend of sport, but to a politician? What is the real sense of that?
Sport represents equality and, in some way, unity. Every person is equal when joining a football team, they are valued for their sport talent not for any other feature that society uses to separate and discriminate human beings, as ethnic origin, religion or purchasing power. In this sense, politics mean division: the ones who think one way against the others. Perhaps in England and some cultures politic parties are just rivals, but in other countries, like Spain or Italy, we can consider them enemies, as they come from a non-democratic history. And thus de division is even greater.
Margareth Thatcher, as many other political personalities, does not represent those sport values of fraternity and there is no sense about paying tribute for her. Even when supporters of two different teams tend to discuss and row there is always something that joins those supporters who strongly hate the rivals colors: the love for football and sport, and it’s values. They are rivals, no enemies. Unfortunately, Thatcher created many enemies during his mandate.
I always thought that mixing politics and sport is disgusting. Politicians have many times tried to use crowded gatherings to support their interests, but sport does not deserve to be stained by their vile deed, giving ideological meanings to social meetings that represent just love for sport. Minute’s silence for Margareth Thatcher are out of place in football stadiums and if any club decides to pay her tribute I would not understand people critizing the ones that decide to boo, as it would be a democratic expression of their feeling towards someone that, probably, did not benefit them during his mandate. An it is their right to express their disagreement.