Elections of 42

If you google terms Pavle Gantar and Douglas Adams together, you get zero relevant results. And yet it looks like president of the parliament is a huge fan of the man who gave us that wholly remarkable book with the words “Don’t panic!” written on its cover in nice, friendly letters. If that is not the case, than the probability factor of him calling local elections exactly on 42 (or, if you like on 10/10/10) are exactly two to the power of two-hundred-and-sixty-seven-thousand, seven-hundred-and-nine to one against. Well, in reality, the probability factor is slightly higher, but you get the point.

Here’s what the Guide has to say about elections:

A unique process, that exists mostly in so-called “Democratic” countries, in which several different idiots try to convince the general population of a country to put a little piece of paper with a particular idiot’s name on it into an envelope, and then stick the envelope into a big wooden box (in some countries this process has been replaced by clicking their name in a computer). Sounds silly? It will sound even sillier when you realize that this is the form of ruling in these countries. That is, instead of doing something sensible, like getting all the potential leaders into a room and having them throw mud at each other to decide who wins, they do it this way. An even more unsual factor than the elections themselves is the election “campaign”. This is where all the various idiots (a.k.a politicians) make nice colorful posters and TV commercials with catchy tunes to convince you to “vote” (put the envelope with their name in it into the wooden box) for them, or not to vote for others. In “non-democratic” countries, the process is made simpler by the fact that all the notes have only one name on them.

If anything, the above goes especially for Slovenian local elections. No wonder that the guide supplanted the Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge 🙂

But OK, enough fooling around. Yes, the president of the parliament called this year’s municipal elections on 10 October. At the moment Slovenia has 210 municipalities which means 210 mayoral and council elections. Pengovsky will leave it to you to decide on the absurdity of the situation of having one mayor per 9500 citizens and will instead focus on the most interesting part of the race: local elections in the capital Ljubljana.

President of the parliament Gantar sets election date (source: The Firm™)

Here, the situation is intriguing to say the least. Incumbent mayor Zoran Janković announced as early as December 2009 that he will seek re-election and ever since most of city political parties were preoccupied with deciding whom to run against Janković or whether to enter the mayoral race altogether.

Seven months later there are only four confirmed candidates. Janković himself, Mojca Kucler Dolinar of Christian-democratic Nova Slovenija, Meta Vesel Valentičič of DeSUS (the pensioner’s party) and Miha Jazbinšek, the lone rider of city politics, who will officially run on the Green party ticket, but is considered to be an institution unto himself. Additionally, the Liberal democrats (LDS) have apparently decided against running with their own man (or woman) and will support Janković for mayor instead. Reportedly, Zares are leaning towards that same move, although there’s no official word on it yet.

This basically leaves the Ljubljana branches of Borut Pahor’s Social democrats and Janez Janša’s SDS to pick their candidates. And this is where the fun starts. Not that there’s any particular rule to it, but traditionally local party leadership does not run for mayoral positions, but rather go for slightly less demanding and more behind-the-scenes council positions. However, both SD and SDS will probably be forced to put up their respective branch presidents against Janković which should make the Elections of 42 rather interesting, and for two reasons.

Pengovsky already wrote about the fact that little love is lost between Janković and the leadership of Ljubljana Social democrats, specifically between him and branch president Metka Tekavčič. If (or when) the two will be head to head in the debates, sparks will probably be flying all over, as Tekavčič is known for her smile-and-stab talk, which is precisely what ticks Janković off. On the other hand the incumbent mayor has a fuse the length of a closely-mowed grass and is liable to crush Tekavčič into sun dust. It will probably not be pretty, but it will be fun.

Janez Janša’s SDS has similar problems. But different. Theirs was a candidate eagerly awaited, not in the least because Janković took innumerable pot-shots against SDS and Janša, especially after Janša’s government took some 60 million euro in municipality financing away from Ljubljana (or, as they would say: redistributed the monies differently) and relations just went from bad to worse to childish. Ljubljana SDS branch was caught between a rock and a hard place as they had to defend Janša’s policies and moves which were down right insulting towards the capital city. However, rather than amend his party’s stance towards the city, Janša had the leadership of Ljubljana SDS replaced and for a while it seemed they were on a roll.

SDS presented their election platform as early as March this year and former minister of development Žiga Turk was widely speculated to be their pick for the mayoral race. But then it all fell apart. In the aftermath of Janša’s defeat on the referendum on the Arbitration agreement Turk made a Shermanesque statement about not running for mayor and SDS has been quiet on the issue ever since. And so it seems that Dragutin Mate, newly minted leader of Ljubljana SDS and Janez Janša’s war buddy will have to run and take one for the team. Because as things stand now, he has zero chances of defeating Janković.

So the main threat Janković is facing is not from the right but from the left side of the political spectrum, as Vesel Valentinčič and especially Tekavčič can (if the events unfolded unfavourably to Janković) chip off just enough votes to force a second round. In all honesty, this looks unlikely to happen at this time, but it is a possibility that can not be discounted.

Plan B, however, is much more realistic. While some parties will support Janković as mayor, every single party will run for seats in the city council with its own tickets. During this term Janković and his List (not a true party, but a political association for all intents and purposes) held an absolute majority of 23 out of 45 total votes in the council. All other parties and lists in the council aim to prevent that from happening again. But Janković, not to be outdone, is going for broke and wants to repeat the result. We’ll deal with the implications of either outcome some other time, but point is this will be the main battle of 2010 local elections in Ljubljana.

Should be fun. And sleeping will once again be for pussies.

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The Nature Of The Beast

Pengovsky skipped on blogging altogether last week and he really has no excuse other than…. Ah well, there’s no excuse, really. Sleeping is for pussies. But there you go 🙂 Anyways, there’s a lot to write about. The date for municipal elections has been set, a referendum is to be held on the new Ljubljana zoning act, Kosovo‘s independence has been declared legal, PM Pahor is doing rounds on post-war graves, Nova Ljubljanska Banka just barely passed the stress test, so shit is going on.

However, pengovsky has an axe to grind first.

Authors of the manifesto in audience with PM Pahor (photo by Voranc Vogel/Delo)

Last week (or was it a week before?) a group of journalists of pengovsky’s generation (i.e.: not as young as we’d like to be, but “young” for all intents and purposes, especially with regard to the old journalistic farts out there) issued a plea, nay, a list of seven demands, prompted by yet another shady media takeover or an attempt thereof.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Namely. Laško Brewery, now headed by Dušan Zorko is desperate to get its finances in order after Boško Šrot wrecked havoc during his prolonged and ultimately failed MBO. One of the brewery’s assets is also an indirect stake in Maribor-based Večer daily, which is officially owned by Delo daily which in turn is owned by Laško Brewery. To cut a long story short: Delo has to unload Večer due to possible competition infringement, while Laško needs assets and will possibly have to sell Delo as well. It turned out that Delo’s 75% share in Večer will be bought by a Murska Sobota-based IT company 3LAN, which has no record of media ownership or even anything remotely connected to the field. The sum? 9,4 million euro.

One can see from a mile away that 3LAN is basically someone’s straw company. The company does not have even remotely enough assets to buy Večer. It’s total assets amount to some 350.00 euro, while it ran a 44.000 euro profit in 2009. It employs four people. Not what one would call a traditional media owner.

The manifesto

Journos went apeshit. It looked the same old story all over again, only with different players. With the situation in the industry hitting new lows basically daily, this was only the last push a group of journos in their 30s (or thereabouts) needed to draft a seven-points list of demands which the government must in their view fulfil if Slovenia is to have a decent media market. The abridged version is as follows

1. Media are institutions of particular importance which ensure the constitutional right of citizens to be informed.

2. Before OKing a sale of 20+% of a particular media, the ministry of culture must obtain an opinion of journalist of media in question

3. When credible suspicion that the buyer is a straw company is aroused, ministry must act and alert relevant institutions.

4. Managerial and editorial functions must be separate unless agreed otherwise by the journalists of the media in question

5. Journalists must give their consent to all crucial decisions of the media company affecting their work, including changing of content profile, appointing and dismissing editors, et cetera.

6. The law on media should stipulate that journalists should use the highest ethical and professional standards in their work

7. Every journalists must be allowed a degree of autonomy and independence regardless of any and all personal circumstances (including but not limited to race, gender, sexual and political orientation)

Now. In general, there’s nothing wrong the above list. Pengovsky might take an issue with a couple of points which either show that the authors are naïve or have little idea about the other – managerial – side of the business. But be that as it may, their demands are not the real problem. The problem is to whom they made them.

Upon drafting the list of demands (which could liberally be even interpreted as a manifesto), the leaders of the movement demanded an audience first with minister of culture Majda Širca and then with Prime Minister Borut Pahor. Both agreed to meet them and listen to their demands. And this where problems start.

When one of your job descriptions is to keep tabs on what the government says and does, the last thing you want to do is call them to help.

Just who do you think you are?

Let me explain. What we witnessed Monday before last was a pure lobbying action. A couple of people used their access to decision makers to plead their case. If the media owners had done it, it would be sort of OK (I’m knowingly neglecting the fact that it would be taken as a final proof that these-and-these media are pro-government). Hey, if you run a big business and run into a problem, the PM can at least be told about it in person.

True, the situation in Slovene media is literally fucked up. Media owners as a rule have no concept of what they want to do with their assets and generally view them as a tool to further their political and/or business interests. There are notable exceptions to the rule, but in general this is very much true. As a result, the quality of media content is nose-diving and shows no signs of levelling out, let alone rising again. This is further increased by the fact that ever more journos either don’t have the slightest idea about what quality content really is or they just don’t give a fuck and simply go for shameless self promotion, without any regard for what they report on or how they report it. Thus the plea by journalists who are competent (and on the whole, the authors of the manifesto are competent) is even more understandable and welcome.

However, these guys and gals misinterpreted their access to top decision makers as leverage rather than just a cool, if biased, source of information, which is what it really is. Going for cover to the people you cover (pun very much intended) is simply not kosher. It is in fact tantamount to selling one’s soul.

Between a rock and a hard place

Slovene journalists are caught between a rock and a hard place, i.e.: between the urge politicos have to plant their version of the truth and the need of owners to have a content that sells. Years ago, when Janša’s government bulldozed through the media, journalists who would not bow to political pressure skedaddled from some media companies to some others, where they were supposedly safe from having to believe in The One Truth (as interpreted by then-PM Janez Janša and his flock). However, there’s no free lunch and soon those who provided safe haven presented their own bill, mostly in terms of demanding content “that sells” which meant content that is cheap to produce. And a lot of it, if you please.

However, now that media owners are bringing the pressure to bear the younger generation of journalists (for want of a better word) is doing that same mistake, just in the opposite direction. They are seeking alliance with a powerful player (politics) in trying to ease the pressure of the other powerful player (media owners). Needless to say that they too will be presented with a bill.

What they forgot or decided to ignore is the age-old truth that a journalist’s only true ally is his or her public. In this case, the public was ignored, or rather, it was simply notified of the journalists’ plea. It was never asked to get involved actively. Journos may be the ones producing (or being forced to produce) shitty content, but it is the public which consumes it. And the fact that circulation of printed media and ratings of electronic media are dropping fast is one of the indicators that the public is instinctively fed up with the shit Slovene media put out daily.

It’s about the ownership, stupid!

However, pengovsky fears that the fight might already be lost. The sad truth is that quality content can be produced but it is not. Why? Because it is expensive and the owners just won’t have that. And why is that? Because they do not understand the way the media work. And truth be told, it is somewhat hard to understand why ludicrous amounts of money should be spent on journos and their teams chasing stories which more often than not turn out to nothing, financing wild-goose chases and hanging around in bars, binge drinking and trying to pick up rumours. But good content comes from years of experience and the ability (given or acquired) of sorting though tons of bullshit to find what is really important.

But to have the balls to pay for that, one must understand media. And no one understands it better than people who work in media. Sadly, they do not own the media. Not anymore, that is. You see, once upon a time, when Slovenia went about its particular version of privatisation, journalists (and other media people) were given stock in the companies they worked for. However in a true early-capitalism manner most of them sold that stock. Sure, they got a new car, maybe even bought a flat, but with that they relinquished what little control they had over the company they worked for. And with that they lost the leverage on what is being produced.

Which brings us to the very core of the manifesto: the question of journalistic autonomy. In this case, the autonomy from short-term interests of media owners. Which is all fine and dandy. I mean, it would be nice if the owners, editors and journos would be on the same boat as far as content and development of any given media company is concerned, but the responsibility for making this happen lies predominantly with the owners. However, politics is neither the place to seek autonomy not the instrument by which it will be achieved. It never was and it never will be. Again, the only way Slovene journos regain their autonomy is by winning back the respect and appreciation of the reading (viewing, listening) public.

Blood money

Therefore if (and pengovsky has no reason to believe otherwise) proponents of this latest journalistic cry for help really want to bring Slovene media to a new high, they should get the public, not politics, behind them. The way they went about it now is trying to do the right thing for the right cause, but fucking up big time. Not unlike what Judas did some 2k years ago, at least according to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Oh, and one more thing: The fight for autonomy never ends. It’s just the nature of the beast. And a little pressure usually is a good thing. It keeps one on their toes.

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Someone Nicked The President’s Car

And I don’t mean his Volkswagen, Volvo, or whatever it is Danilo Türk used to drive before he got elected. No, I mean his official wheels, a 2007 BMW 530ix which is (well, was) a part of presidential motor-fleet. Worth around 30k €, the car was apparently stolen almost a month ago in Ljubljana. According to POP TV, the car was used by one of the drivers, whereupon it was broken into and driven away.

Wanted: Presidental Beemer (source)

While we may be dealing with simple case of grand theft auto here, there is a distinct possibility that the car was stolen for purposes other than just delivery somewhere East of Ukraine. Those of you who follow this blog a bit longer will remember that theft at this high a level is not uncommon in this country. Chances are, this is just another entry in the ever-longer list of security breaches that are never fully explained or investigated (at least officially). Just like post-election break-in into headquarters of Social Democrats in early 2009.

I mean, seriously, people?! If security at the highest level of politics sucks that much, then Slovene security services are a bunch of diletantes and amateurs. But I’m not buying that. Not yet, anyway. Since we’re dealing with a presidential limo, the possibility of this being an intelligence job, increases dramatically and a thorough cleaning of the barn is probably in order. But whatever the case, this is one big multi-level fuck-up.

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Janković Comes To Collect. Or At Least Wants To.

Contrary to his promises and expectations Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković did not open the Stožice stadium and sports hall on 30 June as neither is yet finished. Having initially been scheduled for autumn 2008, the project was postponed when it transpired that the city of Ljubljana did not own all necessary real estate on the building site and had to negotiate with owners who got the land returned to them in a de-nationalization process. Construction of the Stožice complex, which includes a football stadium, a sports hall, a huge shopping centre and a similarly big parking lot, began in late March 2009 with deadline for completion set on 30 June 2010. That is to say, two weeks ago

Mayor Janković and PM Pahor at Stožice some weeks ago probably not debating horticultural tips (source)

The complex is being built under a public-private partnership, where (in a nutshell) the city invested the land into the project whereas the private partner (or partners) will build a shopping centre as well as sports facilities. Private partner will pay its 51% of the project by transferring sports facilities back to city ownership and (presumably) make money by renting out or selling real estate in the shopping centre. That’s the gist of it, anyway.

Skipping the rock and roll the project was engulfed in from the start, the situation today is as follows: The sports facilities are nearly complete, as are parking lots and all other necessary infrastructure (connecting roads, etc). The problem is that the money ran out, since the investors were paying for the project out of their own pocket, hoping to get a credit line which

The investors at this point need somewhere in the vicinity of 150 million euro to finish the entire project (shopping centre included). The sporting facilities alone need some 20 million which would cover for “unplanned” construction (i.e.: someone “forgot” to plan for a training football pitch and hall). And this is where mayor Janković’s woes began.

In ideal circumstances the private partner (a company called Grep, established by Gradis G and Energoplan, two relatively powerful construction companies) would sign a credit line with one or more banks, get the money and get to work. The thing is that this credit line failed to materialise, despite the fact that apparently a syndicate of banks made an offer of such a credit line to Grep way back in January this year. And this is where – as always – things get interesting.

Upon realising (or admitting) that some public funding will be necessary for completion of the project, mayor Janković turned to the state for help. Naturally, this was a not-so-small victory for numerous critics of the project. But Janković maintained (and still maintains) that the city will not fork out a single euro in cash for the project, so he called upon the government to help out with 20 mils.

Let’s be honest: Janković wanted to cash in the heavy political backing he gave to the political left on at least two occasions (2008 elections and 2010 referendum on the arbitration agreement), not to mention the fact that he sees himself and the city he runs as the first line of defence against a political counter-offensive Janez Janša and his SDS will hope to mount in the coming months.

Janković found a sympathetic ear with minister for education and sports Igor Lukšič (of PM Pahor’s Social Democrats) who proposed that the government fork out the cash. However, his colleague (both in government and in the party) finance minister Franci Križanič categorically refused, saying that there’s no legal ground to approve emergency budget funding and that Lukšič can go and spend his budget funds if he so wishes. The catch is that just about that time Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced a 500 million euros worth of spending cuts and naturally it wouldn’t look good if almost 5% of that sum were spent on finishing the Stožice project.

There can be little doubt that the current government owes quite a lot to Zoran Janković. He went out on a limb in support of this government and its policies on several occasions and even though he may not be the sole reason the left won the elections or that the arbitration agreement was ratified on the referendum, he sure as hell helped a lot. So yes, Pahor’s government is indebted to mayor Janković. And debts need to be settled. The problem is that it is being done with taxpayers’ money.

But before we get there, there’s one other aspect we need to cover. Although Janković sees himself as being on the same team with all coalition parties on the national level, he is very much NOT on the same team with them on the local level. This is true especially in the case of Ljubljana branch of Social Democrats, who were one of the two strongest parties in the city until he came along in 2006 and decimated them in elections (cutting the number of their city councillors from thirteen to four, if memory serves).

The powers that were (but were to be no more) never forgave him. This goes especially for leadership of Ljubljana Social Democrats, personified in this case by Metka Tekavčič who (among other things) is widely credited for kick-starting Borut Pahor’s political career. Tekavčič was also considered an eminence grise of the Ljubljana City Council and her nod was vital if one wanted to get things done in this town.

With Janković’s ascent her star faded at least temporarily and she did not take it lightly. The two almost immediately took a disliking to each other and matters weren’t helped with Janković’s tenderness of a bulldozer on steroids when it came to passing decisions through the Council. Their animosity soured even more in the past few months and at the moment the seem to love hating each other’s guts. Which is the sort of environment Janković usually thrives in. But it just so happens that finance minister Križanič is also vice-chairman of SD’s Ljubljana branch and one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that Križanič’s resolve not to fork out the cash on the national level is at the very least strengthened by the sour relations between leadership of Ljubljana SD and mayor Janković (hint, hint 🙂 )

However, word on the street has it that finance minister Križanič is the least of Janković’s problems. After all, it’s just 20 millions in a project estimated at around 350 million euro. It’s the 150 million credit line which both Grep and Janković are worried about. And rightfully so, it seems. The principal bank of the syndicate in state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB). And if oracles are to be believed, minister for development Mitja Gaspari (formerly of LDS and presently of SD – since 2008) has a lot of leverage both with the banks Supervisory board as well as its management and it is reportedly him who is not all that keen on seeing the Stožice project being bankrolled. Whether the reason for that is the fact that NLB is not in the best of shapes as it is or whether it is something else, remains a mystery, but there you go.

Banks have reportedly been repeatedly raising the bar for Grep to finally get the credit line. The first benchmark Grep had to meet was having to sign leases for about 45% of all retail space. Grep met this condition, but suddenly banks raised it to 60%, plus some sort of state involvement. And this is where the whole thing just got even more political.

According to Finance daily the contract on bankrolling Stožice project is being signed today (or by the end of the week at the latest). Whether or not this has to do with the fact that Lukšić’s ministry just issued a tender for “co-financing sporting facilities of national importance” we will probably never know for sure, but fact of the matter is that ministry of sport is prepared to spend 9.4 million (8.0m of that is EU funding) on “various” eligible sports facilities with estimated project value of more than 5 million euro. You guessed it, at the moment Stožice project is probably the only one eligible for funding right now, and the tender closes on 25 July. In 10 days.

As minister Lukšič (if not the government) is bending over backwards to lend mayor Janković a helping hand, the opposition is going apeshit. They’ve been foaming at the mouth with rage from the very moment it transpired that NLB is the principal bank in the syndicate. Former minister of economy Andrej Vizjak (SDS) was fuming that a state-owned bank will be saving a project gone wrong and that it will never get its money back (curiously enough he had no problem with the state itself funding the operational costs of Stožice sports facilities). Vizjak backed off, after it was explained to him (time and again) that the syndicate will finance the shopping centre (i.e: the private part of the investment) and not the public part (stadium and sports hall), but the avalanche had started and SDS is careful to make as little distinction between the two, branding the almost-completed (!) project as one huge fuck-up.

And now that Lukšič came to the (sort of a) rescue the opposition as a whole went hysterical and announced an interpelation against the minister. The lead MP in this enterprise is none other than Franc Pukšič, formerly of SDS and now of SLS, who just happens to be (lookie, lookie!) mayor of municipality of Destrnik. Now, don’t get me wrong: The opposition can go about filing interpelations as they please. They can even do it repeatedly (as we’ve seen in the case of Katarina Kresal). But when a four-term MP, who is also a mayor of a provincial municipality and is an expert at bringing the bacon home (I love that phrase!), yaps on about misappropriation of public and EU funds and direct government assistance (which as we all know, is a big no-no in the EU), then I smell another case of double-standards.

Anyways, time is running out. The new deadline for opening what will be known as The Stožice Centre is set for 30 July, with the first basketball game (Slovenia vs. Spain) scheduled for 10 August and the first football game (Slovenia vs. Australia) scheduled a day later. Jose Carreras is due to give a concert on 7 October and Leonard Cohen will make a stop in Arena Stožice on 12 October (although some people may be forced to attend his concert at gunpoint. Kidding! 😉 ). Neglecting the political fallout Janković would undoubtedly have to endure in local election if the stadium and the sports hall were not finished in time, pengovsky cannot in all honesty imagine the humiliation which would ensue if the game with Australia would have to be relocated to – say – Maribor. Yes, in that sense the Stožice project is indeed completely and utterly local in nature 🙂

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How A Month Of Football Can Alter Your Life (A Guest Post by Simona Novinec)

With the World Cup finally over, we can take a deep breath and take one last look at the last month, when the world at times seemed to have stopped, while at others it appeared to be turning just at the right speed. But this time around the reflection is not pengovsky’s. It was written by Simona Novinec, a member of the famous Nogomet za punce/Football for Girls Facebook Group. In case you missed it (or actually have a life outside football), the group grew from a couple of members to more than a thousand in less than a month and Simona was just a big a part as any other member. So, here it is, Simona Novinec’s guest post.

Football for girls” in action (photo by Miha Fras)

The 19th FIFA World Cup (WC), held on the African soil for the first time in its history, is over. Accordingly, below are 19 facts that best summarize how 2010 South Africa WC taking place between 11th June and 11th July has influenced my life/football (perspectives):

1. I’ve been asked if »Nogomet za punce« (hereinafter “Football for girls” or “NZP”) is my full time profession. #Iwish, #majkemi

2. I now never drink anything stronger than GinTonic before breakfast.

3. What happens if you don’t drink enough GIN during the World Cup?
– You are doomed to teuTONIC football games.

4. My first association on the FB abbreviation is now FootBall.

5. Football is a peaceful way of getting rid of aggression. It’s e.g. a fight to reach the top ranking in the Google search without going to jail for that purpose.

6. Life is like football. We need goals and everyone should work hard and run to reach them. We never know how it would end. Everything is possible. Earth is a round ball.

7. Apart from the fairy tales, it is also in the real world that a dwarf (e.g. Slovenia) can tell a political and/or economic giant (e.g. Russia, England, the USA) what the time is, even when not on the giant’s shoulders.

8. Football is more powerful than politics. Although the world cup probably lost its political virginity already when invented in 1930, and although manipulated by bigshots and programmed by technocrats in every detail, football remains the art of unpredictability. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how much political or economic power, how much coast you have, or if the latter is oil-free.

9. I would prefer being a professional football player to the politician. For being the latter I spend too much of my own money, while, considering I hardly avoid a four letter F word when doing sports, I could easily suit into any of the football teams. Famous word is not called FIFA, however.

10. What is the main difference between football and political game? The former takes a cooperation of a left wing, a right wing and the centre to reach the goal, while different political players each stay standstill in their own wings, not even aware of their goal directions. Life, like football depends on team work to play as well as to win the games. Football players should give national as well as world stage politicians a lesson on concepts such as “cooperation”, “team”, “homogeneity”, “clear goals”, etc.

11. Football is a smart game. High balls can only be kicked by the head.

12. South Africa and Africa in general, considered as one of the most unsafe places in the world, has been claimed to be too dangerous for the WC. However, what was the real danger during the 2010 WC in South Africa?
– To play against cheetahs.

13. I truly believe in mantra “The most important is not to win, but to take part in the (football/life) game”. If it was really only about winning, there would be no room for improvement.

14. World Cup is a show of a diverse but united melting pot of races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and gender. Major power of football is its universality.

15. A “Football is not for women” stereotype is an OFFSIDE joke.

16. For those who still believe “Female for football” idea is crazy: there in no wisdom and genius without madness.

17. If you are not sure you can digest Sushi for a dinner, never doubt in octopus Paul.

18. Considering the fact that only 50 kilometres away from Johannesburg more than 3 million years old human remains and hominid fossils have been found in the so called Cradle of Humanity, we can say that humanity won the World Cup.

19. However, from the 2010 WC on, what will the Spanish flag say to the Dutch one in honour on the Flag Day? Nothing, it will just wave.

Congratulations Spain and all 31 other football elites. And once again, congratulations Slovenia national football team for sweeping the slogan “Slovenci skijaši” (“Slovenians are skiers), originating yet from the Yugoslavian times, under the doormat forever.

If not yet a member of the FB group “Nogomet za punce”, I personally very much advise you to join this group that combines serious and fun in a very special way. There are rare life opportunities that balance joy and seriousness to such a great extent.

Last but not least, “thnx to all NZP members, especially all the girls and the female guests of honour!” #cime:) 2010 South Africa WC will never be forgotten, #majkemi!

P.S.: All of the facts above have a grain of truth in them. Just don’t expect the whole loaf of bread.:)