Soccer Aid – don’t really know where to get started on this one!
For sure, no-one can say UNICEF don’t do good work but I am a little tired of this ‘holier than though’ attitude towards the ‘celebrities’ who have given up their time for ‘free’ to participate in it. Yes, they have given up their time for free ………. the kind of ‘free’ publicity no-one could afford to turn down – no matter how profile they were – in an age where the current ‘currency’ seems only to relate to celebrity status and media exposure (in other words, if you aren’t getting any you aren’t worthwhile). To have the kind of media exposure Soccer Aid is providing is like a ‘gift from the gods’ to those playing and involved in this – well, this what? An excuse for some football mad celebrities to get to live out a fantasy just about every male on the planet (who is football minded) would not give their ‘right arm’ to be involved in. I am sorry but I see this as nothing more than an all expenses paid, lads weekend with a blooming big thrill at the end of it which money could not buy. So they have given up their time for ‘free’ to play at Old Trafford amongst some of the biggest names football has ever seen whilst being feted like a professional footballer and the big add on is they are doing their ‘day jobs’ no harm by raising their own profiles in the media at a time when football is the highest thing on the agenda and will be for weeks and weeks to come whilst hiding behind the ‘mask’ of Charity by doing this great and selfless thing. OK, in the 8 years it has been going Soccer Aid has raised £12 million – a fraction of what some of it’s players earn yearly I suspect.
For anyone thinking this is just ‘sour grapes’ I would say firstly that I did catch a glimpse of a programme last night on ITV talking about the match and how the players had been assembled for a few days to ‘gel’ as a team and the ribald laughter surrounding how much of that gelling had involved a large consumption of alcohol and laughter really did illustrate what a ‘sacrifice’ they are making in the name of Charity! Secondly, I did notice the Cologne Marathon is offering a very expensive package in their Marathon programme for an ‘ordinary runner’ to be able to pay and go behind the scenes of the race to stay at the Elite hotel and go to the technical meeting, and start with the Elite runners etc. In other words, to be treated like a pro and to see what it is like to be one – something most people heavily involved in anything would aspire and love to do. So how is it not the same for these celebrities who are not only getting this for free but are being hallowed and adored for doing it whilst getting the media coverage they both need and crave? As an aside here I can say that I do think I have a fairly knowledgeable perspective on this as I have spent years and years working my backside off to earn a place – by right – on these starts and that has been my only reward. To stand shoulder to shoulder to some of the best and be privileged enough to be allowed a glimpse into their world – to be given this opportunity without any of the years or work I would hardly call a great sacrifice! Thirdly, I don’t agree with it receiving so much television time – it’s just not fair to the hundreds and hundreds of smaller charities out there doing equally worthwhile work who are just not getting a look in because these great big media extravagances are now garnering all the public’s spare funding. There are just too many of this sort of event and I am not aware of any of them which help animal related charities which are very often taking on the ‘knock on’ effects of human problems. Remember, when people become displaced animals do too and suffer in many, many ways that very few even thinks about (people losing their homes and not being able to take companion animals into alternative housing, losing jobs and income, unable to afford vets care, breeding animals to make extra money, ‘throwing out’ animals because they are unable to ‘work’ any more – the list is endless and so is the flow of heart-breaking stories, situations and cases the Sanctuary has to deal with on an ever decreasing supporter base)
So, no doubt, this weekend we will be inundated with football just to get us ‘warmed up’ for the real event to begin next week and the Supermarkets will be using it to tell us all to get the barbecues out and start cremating the flesh of innocent creatures whilst drinking ourselves silly on cheap alcohol all in the name of ‘getting behind our team’ or, in this case, Charity. Brainwashing people at every opportunity to think that any major sporting event (in fact, any event Christmas, Easter, Olympics, Glastonbury etc. etc.) = alcohol and death so it must mean it is OK. The Government will go on and on about their concerns over obesity whilst allowing advertisers and media to continue their stranglehold and the real issues of the world can be masked behind such ‘shocking’ and ‘controversial’ headlines as the news that England will be allowed to take brown and red ketchup to Brazil as it is hard to source (forgive the pun) out there!
Business as usual and the voiceless will continue to suffer in silence because those of us who dare to stand up for them are silenced!