Friday, June 02, 2006

Ukraine: Football to the People

On Monday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov appealed to the country's business leaders to let employees watch World Cup football matches, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. After two near misses since independence, this is the first time Ukraine's national team has qualified for the World Cup.

Football fever has struck Ukraine with full force. To avoid a full-out epidemic, Yekhanurov now pleads with the country's chief industrialists, to let people watch the matches. Otherwise, he fears a considerable decrease in production. His recipe is to adjust working hours to avoid collisions with matches. Another viable alternative would be to put TV-sets at workplaces. Why? Yekhanurov explains: "We can expect an epidemic of various diseases. People will simply report sick in multitudes." Is the similarity between "support" and be "ill" in Russian a mere coincidence, one wonders.

Yekhanurov's appeal may seem peculiar. However, there is some precedence. When the American soap opera "Santa Barbara" hit Russia in the early 1990's, production is said to have halted in factories throughout the country. Being the first American TV-show broadcast after soviet demise, many Russians were spellbound by the wealth and careless life of a family presenting a would-be version of the American dream. However, Russians were far from the only Santa Barbara addicts. US president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy is said to have been next-to fanatic viewers. So, Yekhanurov might not be so wrong after all. World Cup wins or visions of wealth - one has to let the people nurture some dreams.

Note: In Russian, support is болеть whereas ill is болен. However, in Ukrainian, supporter is прибічник, and ill is хворий.


Career Break Guru said...

In Britain, they're predicting that 10% of workers will skive off early to watch the footie. Can't blame them really!

Bill Scott, Sr. said...

Very interesting. I never got into either football or soap operas. I gues life gets so busy and with kids there tends to be no time apart from them. Though it would be nice of the president of the United States of America would tell my employer to let me leave work early for a game. But that will NEVER happen.....

Ali Bsharat said...

thank you