Ugly Sides of Soccer

Less than a week until the start of the world's top media event, the World Cup. For the next month, Germany will hold the attention of the world (with the exceptions of parts of the U.S., India and the Carribbean). I'm as excited as any non-soccer playing gringo this side of George Vescey and am especially eager to see how blogs cover the Mundial– I hope Global Voices is ready.

I was in Englad over Memorial Day, where the hot topic of conversation concerned Wayne Rooney's mending metatarsel. (The Telegraph led its front page with the story on Tuesday.) In the midst of such important matters, the Guardian included this sobering story byJulie Bindel on the expansion of German brothels in preparation for the arrival of 3 million football fans:

In Berlin, for example, a 3,000sqm mega-brothel has been built next to the main World Cup venue. It is designed to take as many as 650 customers at any one time…In January, the international feminist organisation Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) launched a worldwide campaign to protest against Germany's promotion and public display of prostitution during the World Cup. The organisation is worried that an estimated 40,000 women will be "imported" into Germany from Africa, Asia and central and eastern Europe. (This figure is based on the number of women needed to fill the additional brothels being set up.)…CATW says it has received calls from the mothers of Brazilian teenagers lured by traffickers. "They are being offered all-expenses-paid trips to go to Germany and 'support their country'," says Janice Raymond, co-director of CATW.

Today, USA Today takes up soccer racism in Europe. Oguchi Onyewu tells his tale: 

"I've been harassed while in a car, punched in face, heard monkey chants," Onyewu says matter-of-factly. Onyewu has played in France and Belgium the last four years but says this is the first season he has experienced such overt racism.


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