Sunday, March 02, 2003

Worthington Cup and Worthless Leagues

FC Liverpool won't finish this season without trophy. Despite being an underdog, the team has managed to pull a 2-0 win against Manchester United in the final of England's Worthington Cup. This is good news not only for fans of the Liverpool club, but also for their manager Gerard Ullier, who had disappointing run this season. FC Liverpool was knocked out of FA Cup and had its chances for Premiership title shrank beyond reasonable possibility. This victory would represent a great boost for FC Liverpool in their upcoming battles for UEFA Cup title.

The game itself was somewhat disappointing. The start was slow and both teams played too cautiously. However, at the end of first half thing began to happen. Despite the result, Manchester United made a good show of itself and only thanks to the excellent work by Liverpool's goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek this effort was unrewarded.

This was the most important soccer event in the world today, but I had to rely on Bosnian Federal TV for watching it alive. This is due to some obscure UEFA rule that prohibits national televisions from airing other countries' soccer games simultaneously with domestic events.

For soccer fans in countries like Italy, Spain, Germany or England this doesn't seem like a big deal. But soccer fans in small countries like Croatia are condemned to watch domestic leagues, with quality of game and atmosphere that leaves much to be desired, at least compared to Serie A or Premiership. The lack of interest in Croatian league is such that even clubs like Hajduk – bastions of rigid Croatian nationalism and far right views – are beginning to toy with the heretical idea of joint soccer league with Serbia and other republics of former Yugoslavia. Such precedent was already made with basketball and creation of Goodyear League.

However, until something like that happens, fans of good soccer in Croatia would have to rely on satellite channels.


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