160/2024 – “Football’s Coming Home”

Lyrics: “Three Lions” – The Lightning Seeds, 1996

Less than a week from today this big sport event where 22 guys will be kicking a ball around is going to start here in Germany. I try to avoid naming it, because I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name it without having paid for the licence to name it. I’m only half kidding. From what I read in the news and magazines and what I hear from people who are more closely involved with this whole event, I know there are very strict rules. Not just about the EURO (vague enough, I hope), but about sponsorships and what is allowed to be seen and said and everything. As a progressive, left-leaning person, critical of mass consumerism and corruption and all that, I should be boycotting everything about this event. But I’m not. I’m not massively engaged either though, I’m sitting somewhere in the middle ground.

I live less than an hour away from 4 of the 10 host cities in a metropolitan region which has always liked to claim to be sort of “football central” in Germany, so for the next few weeks I claim that football is indeed coming home after all.

There must have been schedules about signage and advertising, because two days – a week before the opening match – it was all dialled up a bit around here. Small banners going up in the city centres. Very big banners going up on buildings. Ads on big screens and small screens.

In the supermarket it already started weeks ago. Sponsors and consumerism and all that.

Photo of football candy from HARIBO
Football related candy

Do we really need football / tournament related candy? I don’t know. I didn’t buy any of this, in case you were wondering.

I admit these days I am a tiny bit worried about safety / security in regard to this event. Not just from the usual suspects – Nazis, Islamist, left-wing nutcases – who might want to use this hugely televised event for some kind of attack. We’ve been there before. I also worry a bit about regular people to be honest. With society – not just here in Germany but everywhere – becoming more splintered and divisive  and with a growing lack of empathy and decency towards others combined with alcohol and emotions (because it’s football) I sometimes worry what might happen. We’ll have to wait and see.

More and more people in Germany openly show right-wing tendencies or at least don’t mind fascists in parliament or don’t care about the forementioned lack of empathy and decency. We do have a problem with racism in this country and football is no exception, on the contrary. There is a new TV documentary out about it, which I haven’t watched yet, but plan to do tonight. In a survey 20% of the people said they’d prefer less players of colour in the German team. 20%! Which sort of fits into of the 15-20% of votes the right-wing party AfD seems to be getting all over the country. But it scares me!

That was an unplanned tangent. The thing I still wanted to share / boast about is: I do have a ticket for a match! Connections, baby! I mean, with all the sponsors and cities involved there are many, many, many people who got a bit easier access to some tickets. I still had to pay full price after all! I am already mildly excited about it, because it will be a once in a lifetime experience, I think. I doubt I’ll get such an easy chance again.

Tickets are only available in digital form. Not as PDF to print out or to present as file on your phone. No, you need the official app. You need to register (with your passport ID) with the organizing entity. At least the tickets showed up in the app with enough time for the match next week, because I was starting to get a bit worried.

The ticket includes free travel on public transport on match day. Do you just show the digital ticket for that? Nooooo. You need to download ANOTHER app for that. Data collection for mass consumerism and all that. I try my best to be aware of that and reject cookies and such as best I can. But there is only so much you can do these days if you still want to participate in events like this one, right?

While I’ve been typing this I’ve been watching “Donots” in the free Rock am Ring live stream. I just logged in to see who I might want to have on in the background while typing this. I did neither know line-up nor timetable. I don’t consider myself a Donots fan as such, but it’s been fun to watch and listen.

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