Chilean football, between repression and rebellion

Jérôme Duval 13/03/2020
Again, the history of football is closely linked to Chilean politics. Let’s go back in time. A few days after the September 11, 1973 coup d’etat against Salvador Allende, the Soviet Union refused to play against Chile in the Estadio nacional de Santiago, transformed into a detention center where prisoners were tortured and summarily executed.

On November 21, 1973, the approval of FIFA having been issued after a visit to the stadium, quickly cleaned up for the occasion, the most unusual and sad match in football history sees the Chilean team play … alone, without opponent, and score a goal after a few minutes.
FIFA validates the score of 1-0 and Chile qualifies for the 1974 World Cup in Germany. Carlos Caszely, the star striker of the Chilean team, retains a bitter taste and, when the Chilean selection is received by General Pinochet in person before his flight to Europe, he refuses to shake hands with the dictator.
In retaliation, the junta sequestrated and tortured his mother, which Carlos Caszely denounced in 1988, in a campaign clip for the people to vote “no” to the plebiscite which was to decide to keep Pinochet in power. On October 6, the verdict of the polls falls: a majority of votes (56%) decides to end seventeen years of a bloody dictatorship [1].
“We don’t play with the working class. We woke up and we won’t stop”
Thirty-one years later, the Chilean people are protesting against neoliberalism carved in constitutional stone since the dictatorship. While the uprising was harshly suppressed by the soldiers who had left the barracks, awakening the worst trauma of the juntas time, the football world expressed its solidarity.
Already, on October 19, 2019, the Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo Munoz spreads this message on the networks: “They sold our water, our electricity, our gas, our education, our forests, the Atacama Saltworks, our glaciers, our transportations to the private sector. Even more? It will not be much? We do not want a Chile of a few people, we want a Chile for all. Enough. “
After about twenty days of mobilization, various supporters’ clubs have spoken out against calls to play the matches as if the country had returned to “normalcy”. Supporters of the Santiago Wanderers de Valparaiso say: “As an ultra club, Los Panzers will not allow any player to step on the pitch (…) it must be made clear that we are not playing with the working class. We woke up and we won’t stop. “
Those of Colo Colo, Garra Blanca, denounce: “They intend to use the clubs as a political tool to promote their interests. They want to tire us out, annoy us, alienate us and make us forget the fight (…) They don’t fool us. To paraphrase our great captain [Claudio Bravo], in the current context of the country, football has come to the background because we are fighting for more important things. “
This impressive insurgency on the streets of Chile led to the displacement, on November 23, of the Copa Libertadores final in Lima, Peru, instead of the Chilean capital as initially planned.
“Pinera, son of a b…, assassin like Pinochet”