Archive for the ‘Republica Internationale FC’ Category

MSWell done to The Morning Star newspaper for being the only UK paper to bother to report about the wonderful football solidarity tour that I mentioned here last month.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-ebfb-Easton-Cowgirls#.VK1fDyusWKY

However, there’s also another editorial by Sanaa Qureshi, published on the Morning Star site the same day, (please click link) which opines that:

“More broadly, I think we have to take a step back from valorising football both in Palestine and generally. Although it is a brilliant and universal hook to connect with people and harness collective power, it is still a sport that reproduces the same hetero-patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy prevalent in the rest of society.

“I think when we consider the use of football as a useful tool to break boundaries and engage with people, we also have to recognise the complicity of how the industry of football perpetuates inequality.”

I thoroughly understand why many on “the left”, typified by Qureshi’s article, are sick and tired of modern football’s perpetuation of inequalities and its crass top-down gestures like the ill-conceived FC Barcelona ‘peace match’ she refers to. However I couldn’t disagree more with her apparent despair as to football’s potential as a multi-faceted medium for the promotion of awareness and change, on almost any issue you care to name. Football is what you make of it, and groups like Easton Cowgirls FC and Republica Internationale FC do try to make it something different.

“Another kind of football is possible.”

Here’s the start of my original blog post, as published here last month.

Football Against Apartheid in West Bank Palestine

Posted: November 20, 2014 in Football Campaigning, Liberation Footbology, Republica Internationale FC 

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Earlier this month two women’s football clubs from the UK, Easton Cowgirls FC of Bristol and Republica Internationale of Leeds, embarked on a trip of a lifetime to the occupied territories of Palestine. The tour aimed to build solidarity with the women footballers of Palestine and for the UK teams to learn about life under occupation…. (see full original report).

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Earlier this month two women’s football clubs from the UK, Easton Cowgirls FC of Bristol and Republica Internationale of Leeds, embarked on a trip of a lifetime to the occupied territories of Palestine. The tour aimed to build solidarity with the women footballers of Palestine and for the UK teams to learn about life under occupation. The joint team’s slogan for their tour was “Freedom Through Football”, a message that they wrote on Israel’s separation wall (pictured above), along with the words “we will share your story”.

“It wasn’t always an easy experience emotionally” said Chrissie P (the captain of the joint team). “We met families who had just had their houses knocked down and we witnessed total apartheid, but equally we were so warmly welcomed and met some amazing people. I think we all knew before we went out there that the only thing we would change would be ourselves. But the one thing that we can do, and that we are doing, is to speak to everyone we can about everything we experienced.”

Having been in Palestine for less than 24 hours, they had to hit the ground running when they played the national under-19’s team at the country’s national stadium in Al-Ram. “It was an amazing atmosphere” added Chrissie. “We lost 5-1, but as we scored two own goals it was like 3-3 really!”

The second game could not have been more of a contrast. Played behind closed doors and with no male spectators or cameras allowed, Hebron University Women had never before played a competitive game. “Maybe we laid off them a little too much” says midfielder Sarah, “it was 4-4 and with the clock counting down from 10 seconds we hit the post, the rebound was cleared straight to their forward who pulled out a fantastic strike to win the game bang on full time!”

The final game was against Bethlehem Diyar, a team who have regularly won the Palestinian national league (which currently stands at 12 teams). “They had a number of players from the women’s national team and they were shit hot” said Sarah. “But it was never going to be about winning. What struck me most was when chatting with one of players afterwards, she explained that she had been inspired to take up football seriously in 2001 when her cousin, who she first played football with as a child, was shot dead in his house by Israeli soldiers.”
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“It may be a bit of a cliché, but football really is the international language”, said Chrissie, explaining that the visiting group’s contacts also took them on visits to other projects in the Hebron area – amongst these a women’s co-operative that employs 120 women allowing them an income by selling traditional embroidery and needlework. They also visited projects in the South Hebron hills area, where the ever-increasing number of illegal Israeli settlements threaten the very existence of the villages struggling to maintain their traditional subsistence farming way of life.

The Easton Cowgirls from Bristol and Republica Internationale from Leeds are football teams with a bit of a difference. Although they play their regular league football, both are also involved in fundraising activities, community initiatives and politics.

“Our clubs are involved in a European network of DIY/alternative football teams” explains Chrissie “We play in annual tournaments including the Anti-Racist World Cup in Italy and are friendly with several like-minded teams across Europe, including the famous St.Pauli FC women.”

The tour participants are currently editing film footage they took and hope to produce a short documentary of their trip early in the new year.

Bring your glad rags,  don’t forget your shin pads,

Your fireworks, your flares, your banners and your flags,

Spray-paint a golden trophy from any old ornament

For the alternative football tournament.

Exactly 15 years since our first overseas tournament, Republica Internationale FC will be in deepest Germany once again this coming weekend for the ICE NECKARSTRASSE TOURNAMENT  (click for details).

 

ICE2

The weather forecast suggests that forest fires won’t be an issue – just beware the legendary headless horseman!

ICE

Tonight’s Republica Internationale gathering also paid tribute to our lovely friend Dot Greaves who so sadly passed away recently, and whose funeral was today.

Dot-Greaves

She often accompanied her partner Rob to our Republica events and tournaments and even though football itself was not particularly her thing, she always spread her special positivity and encouragement around everyone who met her and supported our activities wherever possible.

Happy memories of a wonderful person, and my deepest sympathies and thoughts are with all her friends and family.

Claire has now edited her own footage of the recent tournament in Argentina into a seven-minute video:

FC Che Guevara Copa America Alternativa Cordoba Argentina 2012 from claireblue on Vimeo.

We’ve been sent a short “trailer” for a documentary that was made at the Alternative Copa America which  we attended in Argentina in January (see report, here).   The video was made by the ‘Hombre Nuevo Collective”, named after Che Guevara’s famous dictum, and is mostly in Spanish of course. But at least it gives you a taste of the atmosphere. You can almost taste the dust, that’s for sure.

Have a look too at this video that Claire made the previous weekend in Brazil:

The Europeans visit Autônomos FC Brazil from claireblue on Vimeo.

The organisers of the event in Argentina said that they were inspired by our own “Yorkshire’s Altenative World Cup” in 2010. Here’s the short video that Claire made of that event:

Yorkshire’s Alternative World Cup from claireblue on Vimeo.

A very proud day for my club, Republica IFC, last Sunday. It was “Football versus Homophobia” week, supported by the F.A. and football leagues, but I doubt there were too many other teams in the Leeds Sunday leagues who made a stand against the prejudice and homophobic abuse which is still all too commonplace  throughout every level of football.

The following article from the Yorkshire Evening Post gets things a bit mixed up, as usual, because last Sunday’s match in this dashing black  & pink kit was just a normal league game.  The tournament that they refer to us organising was actually a year and a half ago, but we regularly represent the Justin (Fashanu) Campaign in other small-sided tournaments too.

Today’s Yorkshire Evening Post article