Football is a passionate game, with tensions regularly at fever pitch. This time it is the latest kit from Spain’s national team that is causing controversy.
The colours on the shirt, designed for the team’s World Cup appearance next year, are the source of the problems. Spain’s national flag is red and yellow; however, the new kit includes the colour blue, which many feel is too like the purple on the flag of Spain’s Second Republic.
The political background
The Second Republic was in place between 1931 and 1939, after King Alfonso XIII was overthrown. The civil war that followed still holds painful memories for many whose families suffered as a result. It also ushered in an era of dictatorship for the country under the control of Francisco Franco until his death in 1975.
Anti-monarchists still use the republican flag, so it is no wonder that emotions are running extremely high on both sides of the argument, especially at a time of renewed political tensions within the country.
Both the Spanish football federation and Adidas, which designed the shirt, deny any political motivation. They claim it was designed in homage to the Spanish World Cup team of 1994, whose kit also included the colour blue.
An international talking point
This isn’t the first time that politics has entered the football arena, as Gavin Haynes explains in an article in the Guardian.
Politics can pervade all areas of football, from the boardroom and the terraces right through to local football clubs and sports websites that keep abreast of current news and talking points. Alongside sites that provide soccer drill videos, such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Soccer/drills.jsp, there are numerous sites that strive to remain topical and informative, adding to the discussions and engaging with fans.
This isn’t the first time that football shirts have caused tensions. There was uproar in the UK last year, when the national teams of Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales were fined for allowing players to wear poppies on theirs to mark Remembrance Day. In 1983, the players of Brazilian club Corinthians, proudly wearing their shirts, took to the pitch in defiance carrying a banner to demand democracy.
It seems that politics and football are inextricably linked. Although the Spanish team’s kit is the current controversy, it seems that it certainly won’t be the last.