Such popular sport as football, especially when the national teams are playing, unites people of different nations and religions, analyst of news agency Vestnik Kavkaza Artem Sokolov said in the National Question program on Vesti FM.
The expert drew attention to the fact that it is worth to distinguish football at the club level and football at the national teams level. "If we talk about the club football, then it rather contributes to disunity. One of the clearest examples here is the confrontation between the two Scottish clubs - Celtic and Glasgo Rangers. This rivalry is a long-term and has religious roots. Rangers are supported by Protestants, and Celtic - by Catholics. For example, legendary Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson, at the time he played for Rangers, was kicked out of the club only because he dared to marry a Catholic woman. The confrontation is very serious and is still preserved, "Artem Sokolov said.
He stressed that in general, the club football has a lot of nuances that do not contribute to the unity of people. ”Geopolitics is also among these nuances. For example, when some parts of the city support one club, and others - its opponent, as the North London derby, where there is a rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham, the expert cited.
"There are absolutely unique stories, for example, in the Spanish Athletic Club de Bilbao, until the early 2000s, only the players born in the Basque country were presented. Then, however, the club softened this rule and began to invite the Basque players from all over the world. It is a problem for Spain, as the Basques are trying to held the regional referendum on independence, " Artem Sokolov said.
But football at the level of the national teams, especially at such major tournaments as the World Cup and European Championship, on the contrary, unites people, Artem Sokolov said, explaining that when the national team plays, many club controversies recede into the background. Sometimes even the most desperate opponents play for the national team together.
"In general, there is not such a zealous antagonism that exists in the matches between clubs from the same city. There was once a provocation during the match between Serbs and Albanians, several years ago, but it's more a question to the UEFA, the way the match was organized. There is also an example of Israel, which is compelled to be a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), but it can not play with its geopolitical neighbours.
"At the matches of the national teams, we can see more examples of the unification of fans of different countries. It is seen clearly during the matches in the cities hosting the current World Cup. The center of Moscow in general became a real center of attraction for foreign fans: Peruvians, Mexicans, Germans, Brazilians, Iranians .... People are waving with flags, chanting chants, singing songs, there is no malice, there is a friendly atmosphere, " the expert said.