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SBD Global/December 5, 2013/International Football

New Spanish Law Would Ban Street Football Country's Game Is Modeled On

Off the football pitch, Spain "is going through something of a crisis at the moment," according to EUROSPORT. A "draconian" new government law "includes a rule that prevents the playing of football in 'non-designated' areas." A new bill entitled "The Citizens’ Security Law" has been proposed, and it "contains some rather specific pieces of legislation that will find stern opposition, both domestically and at EU level." The law "stands out in particular, [and is] one that is set to provoke widespread anger among the young and the old." For anyone "breaking an absurd regulation regarding ‘the practice of games or sporting activities in spaces not designed for this’ will be fined" between €100 ($135) and €1,000 ($1,350). The country whose street football culture "has spawned the back-to-back European champions and defending World Cup winners is set to ban kickabouts." It "sounds ridiculous, and it is." Spain midfielder Xavi -- "arguably the best ‘street’ footballer in the world -- certainly thinks so." Xavi: "They’ve made it very nice, very modern, but they’ve screwed it up for kids who are like I was -- they have no chance of playing football there now." Spain "has one of the highest percentages of active players and the largest number of qualified coaches." Kids "grow up playing on the little Plazas near their homes, with the small-scale, makeshift concrete pitches helping fine-tune excellent first touch, close control and short passing." Like Brazil’s favela football culture and the Dutch obsession with maximizing space, Spain’s architectural quirks "have helped develop a technical niche within the game." For ''technical niche,'' read ''tiki-taka.'' The law "has serious potential to backfire." The Spanish government and judiciary "has been accused of failing to act against doping in sport for fear of upsetting an apple cart that has wide public support." Taking away the people’s football culture "seems nothing short of political suicide, certainly in the long term" (EUROSPORT, 12/4).
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