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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 29, 2012
Business & Economy
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Soccer—A Remedy for Crisis
June 29, 2012   
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For many, soccer is much more than just a sport. Sometimes, the emotions which accompany soccer tournaments are so strong that fans, or rather hooligans, discharge their surplus nervous energy in the streets.

In most cases, this starts with squabbles between opposing fans and damage to property, and ends with arrests by the police. In extreme cases, a soccer match may become a pretext for an armed conflict. The Football War between Honduras and El Salvador at the end of the 1960s is an example. The term Football War, popularized by the mass media, reflects the widespread conviction that the conflict was sparked off by a World Cup qualifier in which the Honduras were defeated by El Salvador.

However, there are many more examples of positive emotions generated by soccer. Winning a championship or match is a cause of national pride and binds a nation together. In poor and undemocratic countries, it enables people to forget for a while about their difficult situation and gives them hope for a better future. Soccer may also be an important factor behind a country’s economic development, as has been the case with Poland and other nations which have hosted European and world tournaments.

In their recent Rapid-Growth Markets Forecast, analysts from professional services firm Ernst & Young and Oxford Economics call Poland the “star performer” of the region. The experts forecast that in 2012 Poland’s GDP will grow 2.4 percent, one of the highest rates in Europe.

The Euro 2012 soccer tournament hosted by Poland and Ukraine in June provided a buffer against the crisis which has engulfed the eurozone because the championships required multibillion investment projects.

Many long-overdue projects have been carried out thanks to Euro 2012. But the analysts point out that many initiatives have not been completed by the planned deadlines before the championships, which means that investment spending will continue long after the tournament. You could argue, somewhat perversely, that it’s a good thing that the construction of so many roads will go on for another several years because it will enable Poland to maintain a stable and high level of investment. Considering the situation on the financial market and the reluctance of banks to provide loans, infrastructure projects funded by the European Union will account for an overwhelming majority of projects carried out in Poland. Poland would find it difficult to stay on a path of growth without them.
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