‘Please arrest me Officer – I play Futsal!’

In the most sensational of news arising from Kathmandu, the police has banned futsal activities in effect from today. In the most idiotic of decision making by the organs of government, it should not come as a surprise to many but I am rather taken aback due to my love for football, the beautiful game. In the most humble of manners, I say, ‘Fuck You’. So, there should be reasons that should provide ample justification to this ‘prohibition’ right? So, here’s the deal according to media outlets:

“Nepal Police has prohibited futsal activities in the Capital following several complaints from guardians. SSP Bikram Singh Thapa said the decision to ban futsal courts was taken after guardians complained of betting, use of drugs and distraction from studies in futsal courts” The Kathmandu Post

“Residents nearby of some futsal courts had filed complaints with police that the players obstructed peace and order of the society. The courts would be allowed to resume their activities once the authorities prepare some sorts of rules and regulations regarding their operation, according to the police official” Sojho.com

It’s with a shameful of heart and reproachful of mind I write this. I worry about such parent’s sense of reality and what future their children are going to live in. Yes, the concern is authentic but in earnest, you better be more concerned about the schools or colleges where they study, their use of internet and friends/peer group with whom they share their current lives with. If your kid is genuine then s/he doesn’t need no futsal arena to be distracted from their study to acquire drugs of any sorts or try their hands on betting. It is appalling that such complaints go a long way into hampering the lives of other citizens in majority who enjoy a good hour of futsal on a daily or weekly basis. One may ban entering the Tudhikhel also, for it is a big futsal ground to people of all ages.

Apropos to the residents complaining of the futsal courts obstructing peace and order, that’s where I find my peace. In a capital city where big buildings are erected overnight to use as educational institutions and shopping malls rarely get this limelight. I am sure hundreds of complaints are lodged by the local populace regarding noise and disturbance coming from them and why aren’t they ‘prohibited’ and why “some sorts of rules and regulations regarding their operation” isn’t being taken into consideration. After all chances are high in Kathmandu that such ‘complaining guardians’ should have their children studying in these sorts of educational institutes which are literally adjacent to residential houses and which  disturb community peace and order where drugs apparently do not find their way.

It has been reported that there are around 200 futsal grounds across Kathmandu. Considering the popularity of the game, resentment built up among the investors, collective identity that football gives to people and the recent footballing disgrace that the nation has suffered, the government is likely to find itself against a violent outbreak if the issue isn’t resolved fast. Against all odds, the lackadaisical nature of policy making will only be adding fuel to this fire. The waiting card that the government has been playing brilliantly against Madheshi Morcha may not work this time with people fanatic about football. There is obviously going to be a chance that the prohibition may not actually work, for who doesn’t smoke cigarettes in public or take a ride in overcrowded public vehicles or follow the traffic rules adequately or use the overhead bridge.

Anyways, it is in the interest of the government that its citizens should healthily participate in all aspect of human development. In a nation where unemployment is high and its people live off the hard earned remittances, it is only wise that one should invest wisely in sports. It is in sports where the money is in our modern economy. 

If the government cannot provide employment opportunities to their population who are pervasively youths, then at least let the people do for themselves by opening up such popular venues where local investors have some flow of cash and the citizens play to be entertained or to develop into genuine sportspersons for the nation. The best form of employment for underdeveloped nations in today’s world is sports and we should be encouraging it rather than prohibiting it. 

Does Didier Drogba ring a bell? Does the government know how football has in particular assuaged problems of war ravaged Ivory Coast or a developing country like Ghana? Do you know that five times World Champions Brazil focuses on futsal till late childhood to develop their football which in turn produce the world beaters? Do you even football!

Maybe the government should be provided with Crash Course on football and how it has changed perspective of governments in Africa and Latin America where under-developed nations have cashed in the popularity of the game and rest they say is history.

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