Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Britain 1, Argentina 0. Soccer diplomacy in the Falklands

This is an interesting example of sport allowing political tensions to be put aside, from the Canberra Times in 1948. The crews of British and Argentine naval ships met in the Falklands for a friendly game of soccer followed by a film show despite the simmering tensions between the two countries.


LONDON, Sunday.

The Antarctic international dispute was put aside for a game of soccer - in which Britain beat Argentina by one goal to nil - when the sloop H.M.S. Snipe, under Commander J. G. Forbes, put in at Deception Island on her recent 6000-mile tour of Antarctic territories, the British sovereignty of which Argentina and Chile are disputing, says Reuters special correspondent at Port Stanley.

H.M.S. Snipe, which is taking Sir Miles Clifford, Governor of the Falklands, on his annual tour, played the crew of the Argentine minesweeper Seaver, which was at Deception Island supporting the Argentine nationals who established a base there despite British protests.

Later, all enjoyed a film show when the Argentine tug Charrua arrived.

The Seaver dipped her ensign in salute as the Sniper sailed from Deception Island.
What makes this all the more remarkable is the previous history of tension between the two vessels evident in the stand-off related in the article.
The Snipe and Seaver met previously at Admiralty Bay.

The Seaver arrived as the Snipe was putting a post at Admiralty Bay, which is British territory.

Seaver and Charrua twice signalled Snipe asking whether she had permission to proceed "through Argentine territorial waters."

Snipe replied, "No permission is needed."
Sometimes too much is made of sport's ability to overcome prejudice and conflict but it does seem to have been able in this instance to defuse tensions, even if only momentarily.

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