It was with a great deal of annoyance, and a considerable amount of bemusement, that I ‘tuned’ into tv.dfb.de today to find that I, and indeed the many thousands of German national team supporters who live outside of Germany, had been ‘blocked’ from watching the coverage of the Film Premiere of Die Mannschaft.
That’s right. Out there, somewhere, there is someone or some rule that prevents those of us across a border from watching the team, a team we have supported over the past months, from walking up a red carpet and giving interviews to the media.
It hardly needs explaining how pathetic and puerile this appears not only to me, but to the many others who have been disappointed, such as my friend in Thailand, who had stayed up to midnight to get a glimpse of ‘die Mannschaft’ arriving.
Does the whole of the world watch the Oscars? Yes, of course. So why apply this rule, now, to us. And this particular film premiere.
Many of us supported the German team in the run up to the World Cup, when it would appear that so many within their own country showed so little confidence in their ability to triumph in Brazil. Perhaps we also feel that WE have the right to watch and join in with their celebrations. Maybe we are owed that.
I am unsure who is responsible for this ruling. I am sure that it is not the DFB, who seem delighted in their team’s diverse appeal. I cannot believe they are not aware of the admiration their team has abroad, and the general interest any football film creates across continents.
But in Berlin tonight, it would appear, that while the Wall that once split the city has been gone twenty-five years, another metaphoric one has been built. For the purpose of a film. Football, the sport that breaks down boundaries, has on this occasion created one.
My only question is – Why?