Kuper’s segment on the Celtic v. Rangers rivalry is among the best in the book. It really shows the intensity and history behind the rivalry. This section alone defines the passion that soccer fans around the world have. However, the best section of the book was the add on chapter for the American version. This chapter, entitled Global Game, Global Jihad, details the impact that the game of soccer has on developing Middle Eastern countries in conjunction with radical Islam. It isn’t a controversial chapter, just a statement of facts that helps details how soccer has turned so political in that part of the world.
It’s popularly believed that the reason so many black players represent predominantly white countries is that blacks are inherently more athletically gifted than whites. Indeed, Blanc voiced just that notion at the infamous meeting. He said, “You have the feeling that we are producing really only one prototype of player: big, strong, fast… and who are the big, strong, fast players? The blacks. That’s the way it is. That’s the way things are today.”
Lilian Thuram, a black man of Caribbean origin who played alongside Blanc in that impregnable defense of 1998, thinks that here his old friend was guilty at least of “unconscious racism” and promoting “racial stereotypes.” If you say that blacks are stronger and faster than whites, Thuram argues, you open the door to them saying that whites are more intelligent than blacks.
In fact, health researchers say the question of whether any people of African origin have genetic sporting advantages is still unresolved. Clearly not all Africans have these advantages. The genetic variety inside Africa is immense. The British geneticist Steve Jones observed that people in one Kenyan village may have more of their genes in common with Danes than with people in the next Kenyan village. At the last World Cup, the South Africans, say, would have been out-muscled by any European team. In any case, if it were true that blacks in general had better sporting genes than whites, then Africa would surely do better at sport