Sport and policy are two different things, but often policy interferes in sport, especially in football. Good examples are footballers Giorgos Katidis who got a lifetime ban from all Greek football teams because of fascistic greetings, and Joe Šimunić who got money penalty and 10 football match out of the game because he said controversial words from Croatian history “For home we are ready.”
FIFA said clearly, zero tolerance on racism, Nazism and any kind of similar aggression. It is understandable when some footballers are hurt, for example, Mario Balotelli when people tease him with bananas and compare with a monkey.
We have another side of this mirror.
Sometimes, footballers are good servants of political games. In the time of elections in Croatia, before 7 years, ex Croatian coach Niko Kovač supported politician Ivo Sanader in his campaign. It was good marketing because Niko was a famous football player and he also said: “and my brother Robert too.” His brother Robert Kovač, also famous footballer was announced as part of his support. Niko justified his words in a way that he only wanted to promote himself as captain of Croatian football.
Ivo Sanader was Croatian premier and he won that election 2007. Later Ivo Sanader was subject of investigation, he was corrupted and he finished his political career in Croatian prison Remetinec. Advertising with Niko was subject of jokes, even these days people laugh at the quote “and my brother too”, when Niko Kovač has something important to say about football. He is now national coach and for sure he is not proud on days when he supported Ivo Sanader.
Politicians and football cannot be separated so you will see premiers, ministers, and president in VIP during the football match on a national level. They will shake hands with footballers. Some of them will go so far that they will be candidates for parliament in next elections, why not to connect football and policy? Croatian football manager Zdravko Mamić, who was president of Dinamo, football champion club in Croatia, said that only fools think how is possible to separate football from the policy. When Croatia played against the Czech Republic, hooligans interrupted match because VIP seats were taken by Tomislav Horvatinčić, the man who was convicted of killing two people in an accident on the sea. The seat next to Davor Šuker, president of Croatian football association.
The policy is a bitch. You never know when will some successful politician finish his career behind prison bars. Then you can be ashamed if you supported his side. Just because politicians bring money and connections, football and policy are inseparable but also this is the reason for the mess in stadiums.