The idea for this piece come from the match Croatia-Czech Republic (2-2) played on Friday 17th.
Croatia was winning 2-1 and was playing an amazing football, technique, run, constant ball possession.Then at the minute 81 the supporter from the croatian sector threw flares onto the pitch hitting (almost) a steward.
This scene, quite common in many matches in every national league, brought me memories of other Balkan affirmation thought football. The most recent is the one happened on the October 14th, 2014 during the match Serbia-Albania.
“A UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match involving the national association football teams of Serbia and Albania took place on 14 October 2014 at Partizan Stadium, in Belgrade, Serbia. The match was abandoned after several on and off the field incidents. Serbian fans had chanted “Ubij, ubij, Šiptara” (Kill the Albanians), and threw flares and other objects on the pitch. At that point a drone quadcopter carrying an Albanian nationalist banner with an image of Greater Albania appeared on the pitch. During an interruption of play, Albanian players rushed towards a Serbian player, Stefan Mitrović, who had brought down the banner from the drone attempting to remove it.” (From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbia_v_Albania_(UEFA_Euro_2016_qualifying)
The other episode was, in a way or another strictly related to Balkan’s war and that took place on May 13, 1990 during Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, Croatia “The incident took place just weeks after Croatia’s first multi-party elections in almost 50 years in which the parties favouring Croatian independence had won the majority of votes. The riot resulted in over 60 people wounded, including some stabbed, shot and poisoned by tear gas[…] Amidst all the chaos, several Dinamo players still remained on the field, the Red Star players having already left for the locker rooms. Zvonimir Boban, the Dinamo captain,(he was not the captain) kicked a police officer Refik Ahmetović who was attacking a Dinamo supporter. The Bad Blue Boys (Dinamo’s supporters) soon came to Boban’s defence, acting as bodyguards. For this act alone, Boban was proclaimed a national hero of Croatia, but also attained a Croatian nationalist reputation in Serbia. He was suspended by the Yugoslav Football Association for six months and had criminal charges filed against him, although the officer he attacked (who turned out to be a Bosniak) publicly forgave him for his actions several years later.”(From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinamo–Red_Star_riot)
These episode are imbued with so many meanings. The identitarian affirmation seems to be the most evident also through the iconic figure of the Albanian captain (Lorik Cana during Serbia-Albania) and the young football promise (Zvonimir Boban during Dinamo-Red Star)
What I am presenting here is an uninterrupted and blurred chronological line in which the fight for identity seems to be a constant and repetitive choreography.
Emanuele Rinaldo Meschini, Identity as repetition #2 Fighting session, Video still, 2016