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The Antidote








Written by: Massimo Sampaolesi. Translated by: Carlotta Belluzzi.


One of the most infamous Ancient Roman general was Publius Quintilius Varo, known for the terrible defeat against the Gauls in the battle of the Teutoburg forest – so well known, in fact, that the Emperor’s resentful remark “Varo, give me my legions back!” became famous as well. We are currently feeling the same resent against someone, “General” VAR. Same presumptuousness, same defeat.


However, in the match against Inter, we have to admit, we did not play all our cards right: the team was clearly feeling lost, cold, and exhausted, and this negatively impacted their focus. So much so, that we lost yet another match against a self-declared big team. We should have won the previous match against them too, if not for Mbaye’s mistake, which lead to a penalty kick for Inter. It was a referee’s decision – a right one, sure – that sealed our defeat; Bologna was actually playing well. Penalty kick – it’s a draw – time to go home.


People get angry, they shout at Donadoni, at the players, at Fenucci (as is now tradition). Some even shout at Saputo, who is certainly not a philantropist, but without whom, we would still be holding our own trousers up with our trembling fingers. All this noise does nothing but hide the fundamental principle and truth of football: those who win, will win; those who lose, will lose. This routine will rarely change, and there will be loads of defeats before a random victory pops up. Even those who think know all about football, will have to change their mind and leave behind their illusions. It’s happened before, after all: “Maradona is better than Pelè”, and then he didn’t turn out to be. Sure, a huge feat every now and then, an incredible victory here and there, but the fundamental law does not change.


With all this I want to say that that VAR (which I have supported from the start), has turned out to be a shadow on the wall, a lullaby for children: it’s not a field leveller, it’s fiction. If football is becoming more and more a financial activity like any other, it’s clear that those who have the most money, will perform the best. “Doesn’t that undermine the principle that sport has to be equal for everyone?”, some will say. “Who cares?”, others will ask. And “who cares” is exactly how the bigger dogs will overpower everyone else. We are still treating football as something separate from real life, but that’s not the case anymore. Like never before, football is exactly like real life. Our personal defeats often look like those of our beloved team, as does our resentment. Those whose grass is greener, do not care about our little backyards – and so it is in football.


But maybe there’s an antidote for this: at the next defeat, before shouting at ourselves and our lives (Fenucci included), why don’t we try to hold each other’s hands, and, looking upwards, raise a loud cry: “WHO CARES?!”. Bologna will lose anyway, but at least will be able to say to the big, powerful teams, that we are not stupid enough to fight against each other.


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