Football is a fantastic game to play and to watch. It is also some task to write about football. However, Germany’s leading newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has given an example how not to do it.
A reaction to the Champions League draw last Friday saw commentator Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger write about fears of a German hegemony in Europe. It is correct, 2 German clubs in the semi-final of Europe’s premier football competition is a Novum. However, there is no reason to bring hegemony into play.
Hegemony is described as indirect rule by the means of cultural and political ideas in order to maintain a status quo. The Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci
used the term ‘Cultural Hegemony’ to describe how the ruling class dominate the working class by setting an agenda of ideas and beliefs.
Without a doubt, Germany occupies a dominant role within Europe. However, it is a thin line between leading for the good of the European Project and dominating the Union. And this is what Germany does. It dominates the European Union, so much so that Ulrich Beck recently warned that Germany has become too powerful for Europe.Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger is correct when he mentions Germany’s hugely successful export industry in his article but fails to add that this is one of the causes for the imbalance between the north and the south of the Euro zone.
Football and the Nation
It beggars belief how he links football and economy and comments that no one should be afraid of a German hegemony. No one is afraid that Germany might build an hegemony; it is much more the opposite that unsettles Europe: Germany is the hegemonic power of the continent. So much so that those affected most, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus appear to have negative opinions about the Fatherland.
The article must be regarded as an attempt to further justify the ‘austerity measures’ ordered by Germany for other European nations under the cover of football affection in one of Germany’s best regarded newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Frankenberger augurs a ‘battle between the north and the south’ and visualizes the ‘rhetorical bengalos’ before his mental eye, thus totally ignoring his role as a the arsonist. Once more, it is the other way round. The German press have collectively labelled other European nations as lazy and living over their means while ‘the poor Germans’ have to bail them out with their savings. To rub it in once more, the author adds that the German economy grew on the basis of ‘innovation, efficiency, studiousness and creativity.’ He should have added: low wages and lack of innovation to paint a picture that is closer to reality.
The semi-finals between Bayern Munich and Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund are elevated to the national level to represent a fight between Spain and Germany. Thankfully, this is not the case as the games will be played out in the possibly greatest European invention of the 20th century: the European Cup.
The niveau of this comment is better suited for the tabloid press à la Bild but should have no place in such a respected paper that once described itself as ‘the voice of Germany in the world.’ It is a sad state of affairs German journalism finds itself in at the beginning of the 21st century.
- Should the Bundesliga be worried about suffering ‘a Spanish situation’? (guardian.co.uk)
- Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister accuses Germany of “euro zone hegemony” (keeptalkinggreece.com)
- Q & A: Simon Kuper (world’s leading football writer, FT columnist & Soccernomics co-author) (fieldoo.com)
- Review to PressReader App (part 2) (expatsincebirth.com)
- German support for the European project should not be taken for granted (blogs.lse.ac.uk)
- Is Germany too powerful for Europe? (guardian.co.uk)