between European and African football are partly horrible and will
keep African football, especially club football, deprived of realistic
Example Nigeria: the best
players go to clubs all over Europe, even minor important leagues in the
East, even second, third, fourth, fifth division in Germany. They leave
Nigerian clubs with a low quality of the game. The transfers generate mediocre
sums for Nigerian football but a lot of money for slave traders or even
Of course the African fans
want to see their stars on TV so the African TV stations and sponsors will
not invest into the Nigerian game but into TV rights from the European
leagues. The fans there will not buy shirts from their home clubs, they
want Arsenal/Kanu, PSG/Okocha etc.. The consequence: there is even a cash
flow into the European/American direction.
These structures leave the
clubs without chance because the gap increases each day. Their perspective
rather seems to be becoming farms developing robots and artists for the
European arenas and TV shows.
The domestic clubs can only
compete in African competitions so they even cannot make any against the
odds impact on the grass. There is no promotion possible into the European
One has to thank FIFA here
for energetically establishing the FIFA club world championship which has
cut a little hole into this wall.
(Unfortunately I have to
correct the document here, this competition has been cancelled over the
ISL crisis (marketing partners of FIFA which have gone bankrupt) and one
reason FIFA President Blatter has given in an interview a part of the blame
to UEFA, the European Association which he accused of having acted 'contraproductive'
concerning the tournament (Kicker June 21)).
In parallel, similar things
happen on the internet: look for example at domain names. Check on .com
domain names involving terms like Africanfootball etc. or state
names like libya (.com, .net, .org).
19 of 20 such domain names
are grabbed and not used. Because they have been reserved by speculants
from outside Africa (Europe, USA, even Australia) at a time when most Africans
would not even have access to such a reservation.
Again Africans would have
to pay high sums to get access to them and again the cashflow would be
in the other direction. How can you start to build something in such structures?
Another point I like to mention
is what I call 'the BBC site dilemma'.
The BBC has started a very
good African Football coverage.
On one hand this is great,
because it helps the African game to become noticed.
On the other hand it is
a problem because it suffocates all those original African attempts to
establish an own coverage. The BBC has all that background money the others
do not have and they will surely draw readers away from their pages.
In someway they are the
media counterpart to a big European football-club. The big African players
(here journalists) are on their list.
Why is this problematic?
Look at the difference to Allafrica.com
Allafrica.com is a window
to various African sources and opinions while the BBC site is a monopolisation
of news. The BBC site does not even have one single link to any extern
source on that page.
With the financial power
behind that BBC effort and the quality of the service the danger is huge
that fans switch from a multiple source like allafrica.com to a monopol
source like BBC.
A further danger lies in
the fact that there is a very small number of journalists contributing
to various sources. The very same journalist is a main correspondent for
Reuters/dailysoccer, BBC, African Soccer, German football magazine Kicker,
and I don't know whomelse.
Media is the eyes and ears
of the fan or the citizen. If one or two journalists determine what kind
of associations the fan (or the citizen) makes, it becomes dangerous.
This has absolutely nothing
to do with the great quality of the journalist behind it. The same concern
woul apply to The Shot being the only source for something. I have studied
linguistics and I can assure you, there is no such thing as an entirely
'neutral' or 'objective' report possible. And the impression of truth which
enfolds by having the same sight repeated by various media (although going
back to the same source) has a huge impact.
The development is also a
threat to African football's most prominent, most important, and most valuable
source, the printed 'African Soccer' magazine. It is making me sad
to read that the publication suffers from a lack of sponsoring investors,
Now you see - it is a real
dilemma because the simple idea to ask the BBC to stop their service would
be a blow to African football as well.
And another question comes
up: when The Shot is a European source, too, then where is the difference
between The Shot and the BBC?
While the BBC sucks readers
without passing them on, and this is the clear goal of the site, The Shot
only runs services which are not available on other sites or casts alternative
views where it seems helpful. All services that are already available in
a good quality and over a considerable period of time (and known to me)
are referred to as links.
Every service that becomes
delivered by another source can become replaced by a link and consequently
set free forces for developing new projects.
New projects that will be
talked about in the next paragraph...