Monday, June 09, 2008

Let's Go: Uruguay

While some big tournament goes on in Europe, there is football elsewhere in the world. I sat down this afternoon to check the offerings of GolTV's funny little On Demand highlights service, which during the Big Time season packages goals from Spain and the Bundesliga with some incongruous odds'n'ends, by which I mean the Colombian league. Right now, the editors find themselves obliged to cobble together 18-minute reels with only the Uruguayan and Ecuadorian leagues to draw from, it seems. Must be the life.

Not to say those competitions don't have their points of interest. I have an official Strange Fascination with the Uruguayan league, based in part on a brief visit to that lovely country (and a look at one of the tiny, tiny stadiums used by average provincial teams) and in part because it seems, well, kinda weird. To start with, there's a club called Liverpool which is not actually Liverpool (they wear blue[!]), and a club called River Plate that is not actually River Plate but which has a pretty interesting history of its own. The UruLiga doesn't amount to much in this all-singing-all-dancing era of football globalization—Europe steals all the players worth stealing, and then Argentina takes the rest. That is, if you evaluate it on the standard of a national league. In reality, I bet this is the best city league in the world: by my count, 14 of the 16 current teams are from Montevideo. That means, according to my sophisticated demographic analysis, that there is one first-division football club for every 95,000 or so Montevideans—that's got to be some kind of major-metro record, right? Greater Londoners will have to make do with just one Premier League side per 1.5 million residents next season, while 2.5 million Romans have to share one major team, plus Lazio. In Montevideo, the loyalties must shift block by block.

1 comment:

ursus arctos said...

At least until the 80s, ALL of the teams were from Montevideo. The "provincial" teams were promoted by the Federation to make the competition more "national" (just as the state championships in Brazil have increasingly been devalued in favour of national competitions).

It still has the highest concentration of teams from one city in any country that isn't a city state (like San Marino).

Danubio isn't on the Danube, either, and I imagine that Wanderers are trying to find themselves.