Switzerland, football and immigration


by Rumbold
11th December, 2009 at 5:54 pm    

Last month the Swiss football team won the U-17 world cup, the first time the country has won a world championship at any level. In the new issue of World Soccer, Brian Homewood points out (in an article not available online) that around half the squad are the children of immigrants and asylum seekers. All were born in the country, but twelve still hold dual nationality, and their parents come from countries as varied as Tunisia, the Congo, Bosnia and Ghana. The senior national team also contains the children of immigrants from places like Kosovo (Valeri Behrami), and Switzerland has punched above its weight in youth competitions for the last few years.

Swiss poster

Looks like those ‘black sheep’ came in handy after all:

Swiss victory


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Switzerland, football and immigration http://bit.ly/4xiCRL


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  1. Laban Tall — on 11th December, 2009 at 11:11 am  

    I'd have thought French history since the 1998 World Cup might have tempered the rainbow hubris a tad. Obviously not.

  2. JamestheVIII — on 11th December, 2009 at 11:22 am  

    Switzerland is one of the most tolerant countries i have been to it has communities from all parts of the world you will find church towers, sikh gudwarahs, jewish synagogues and mosques. Unfortunately like the rest of europe they have been infected with the right wing disease of bashing muslim communities.

  3. douglas clark — on 11th December, 2009 at 12:19 pm  

    Laban Tall,

    OK. Lead me to your arguement.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SCyXGiJ-jc

    Obviously you have something else in mind?

  4. Reza — on 11th December, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

    I see. The quality of life of the Swiss people is so much richer and improved by the performance of the national team.

    No doubt getting a decent curry is much easier these days and life must feel so much more er, ‘vibrant’.

    And here I was thinking that mass third world immigration into Europe had downsides.

    “In Switzerland, 69.7% [yes, 69.7!%] of prison population had no Swiss citizenship, compared to 22.1% of total resident population (as of 2008). The figure of arrests by residence status is not usually made public. As in 1997 the conviction rate of Swiss citizens fell below 50% for the first time, a special report was compiled by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (published in 2001) which for the year 1998 found an arrest rate per 1000 adult population of 2.3 for Swiss citizens, 4.2 for legally resident aliens and 32 for asylum seekers. 21% of arrests made concerned individuals with no residence status, who were thus either sans papiers or “crime tourists” without any permanent residence in Switzerland.[5]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigrant_criminal

    I’m not sure though if the Swiss mightn’t feel that the much higher unemployment rate and welfare bill per capita for immigrants takes the shine off their improved footballing prowess somewhat.

    What a stupid post. Even for Sunny.

  5. BenSix — on 11th December, 2009 at 6:55 pm  

    What a stupid post. Even for Sunny.

    I hate to be pedant – sod that, I love this shit! – but it's never wise to accuse somebody of being stupid if you haven't read the post properly.

  6. Bill Corr — on 11th December, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

    One always doubts figures of the kind Reza gives. Until one checks, of course.

    It is reported periodically that Somalis in Finland are doing all they can to provide guaranteed employment for police officers, prison officers, probation officers and counsellors of various kinds.

    Although still fewer than 1% of the population, the Somalis in Finland seem to be committing eight or ten or sixteen times their 'fair share' of crimes, depending on the veracity of the reports one reads.

    Can other readers shed any light on this?

    FOOTNOTE:
    It is claimed that one of the Somali suicide bombers who gave his life in the cause of making the graduation day at the Mogadishu medical college a day to REALLY remember had spent 20 years in Denmark as a refugee / asylum seeker.

  7. Bill Corr — on 11th December, 2009 at 8:09 pm  

    Someone with a bit of idle time could compile an interesting slim volume on how much Somalis have enriched those countries sapheaded enough to welcome them:

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2005/10/he

  8. thabet — on 11th December, 2009 at 11:42 pm  

    The star striker for the Swiss is called Ben Khalifa, which I find mildly amusing,

  9. MiriamBinder — on 12th December, 2009 at 12:05 am  

    Though personally I have very little acquaintance with Somalis in Finland I am very aware of how easy it is to transgress in a country where you are an 'other'. Though born in this country (UK), I spent most of my informative years abroad. Further, being a Jew by birth though not conviction, I tend to get pigeon-holed by people and authorities without so much as a by your-leave; this still goes on now even though I have now managed to accumulate more years in this country then I have spent in all my previous years abroad.
    (Now I realise that the above might come under the classification of anecdotal but when one reads posts containing phrases such as 'It is claimed blah blah bladdity blah' then baulking at a mere anecdotal post seems a bit overly sensitive.)

    I would be very chary of reading anything into figures where the demographic antecedents alone serve as a classification … and I quote: “Although still fewer than 1% of the population, the Somalis in Finland seem to be committing eight or ten or sixteen times their 'fair share' of crimes, depending on the veracity of the reports one reads.”

  10. Roger — on 12th December, 2009 at 2:39 am  

    Given Swiss geography- lot's of mountains covered in snow- the native Swiss probably regard being interested in football, let alone good at it, as a sign of foreign tendencies.

  11. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2009 at 2:51 am  

    Reza:

    I wrote the piece. I wasn't saying that all immigration was somehow justified by the success in sport, merely that the SVP have been demonising immigrants and look what they achieved.

  12. marvin — on 12th December, 2009 at 2:58 am  

    That was a poster from the SVP in 2008, PP covered it last year.

    This is the stock tabloid story that is run about European nationalist parties, be it BNP, the French National Front etc. Look proles, football teams will be suffer in the leagues without brown people and immigrants!

    I shouldn't think the Swiss people are bothered about skin colour. As JamesVIII says Switzerland is a very tolerant place. So I find it extremely unlikely they're about countenance start deporting brown people. But many UK liberals will find it extremely hard to differentiate racism with banning of imposing religious towers symbolic of a fire and brimstone religion. Of course if it were a small minority of Christians who wanted to build imposing towers and the largely irreligious Swiss opposed it there would be no yelps of 'racism', and it would be supported many Guardian reading liberals. After all, look at the Church's bigoted towards gays and women.

    Still, there's been so little outrage from Muslim nations! There are no mass Swiss boycotts as predicted! Why o why?! Because even in secular Turkey its difficult to build churches and synagogues.

  13. MaidMarian — on 12th December, 2009 at 4:31 am  

    I am astonished at some of the comments that say Switzerland is a tolerant place! It is a deeply intolrant country with a collective group think that would shame the East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

    There is actually some interesting work done on this sort of issue – how sport can indeed have a positon that is, if not 'special,' over and above identity politics as a private sphere (albeit with international teams that have a type of public ream standing).

    Indeed, the point that Reza goes out of his way to miss is that the people in the team, one would suspect do not claim welfare/commit crime etc. But then in the gospel according to Reza we are not allowed to look at people from different backgrounds rubbing along together in private realms like sport as anything at all positive or inherently good. Of course all, 'third world migrants,' regardless of their individual situation must be a priori morally condemned and browbeaten to fit the narrative. That the migrants in question do not claim welfare, commit crime etc doesn't actually matter.

    No, we must sacrifice what we like, what we see as a good thing at the altar of massaging the chip on the shoulders of Reza-like professional talkboard miserablists.

    I am now off to watch St Albans v Bromley and of the many things I will indulge while I am there, identity politics will not be one of them.

  14. Bill Corr — on 12th December, 2009 at 5:42 am  

    Over here there are people still going on about the Swiss and their feelings about minarets.

    On one doubleplusungoodthinkful site, the issue is primordialism, Bantu customs and animal cruelty:

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2009/12/wo

  15. Bill Corr — on 12th December, 2009 at 6:55 am  

    And here is the same doubleplusungoodthinkful site on the minarets:

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2009/11/sw

    Some literate and intelligent comments, others less so.

  16. Ravi Naik — on 12th December, 2009 at 10:59 am  

    But then in the gospel according to Reza we are not allowed to look at people from different backgrounds rubbing along together in private realms like sport as anything at all positive or inherently good. Of course all, 'third world migrants,' regardless of their individual situation must be a priori morally condemned and browbeaten to fit the narrative. That the migrants in question do not claim welfare, commit crime etc doesn't actually matter.

    Spot on, MM. And if Reza thinks it is stupid to look at the big picture – which also includes the good – and not just want fits his narrative, then I guess that tells everything you need to know about him.

    And I actually went to check the crime figures in Switzerland. And I found this: a conviction rate under criminal law about 12 times higher among asylum seekers (4%), while the conviction rate among other resident foreigners was about twice as high (0.6%) compared to Swiss citizens (0.3%). This explains in part why the prison population has a significant proportion of foreign nationals.

  17. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2009 at 11:52 am  

    Thank you for articulating that so well MaidMarian.

  18. marvin — on 12th December, 2009 at 12:05 pm  

    I am astonished at some of the comments that say Switzerland is a tolerant place! It is a deeply intolrant country with a collective group think that would shame the East Anglia Climate Research Unit

    Really how so? I must confess I am no expert on the Swiss :) So genuine questions here…

    In this list of countries, they have the second highest number of immigrants (or specifically foreign born mothers).

    http://puck.sourceoecd.org/vl=2475668/cl=28/nw=

    Surely if the country was so intolerant they wouldn't have allowed such high immigration? Or maybe it's the high levels of immigration that have recently swung the country from a liberal one to a more hardline one?

    Do we have any Swiss in the house to answer questions?!

  19. marvin — on 12th December, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

    OK, so a bit of research later I have discovered a revelatory piece of information. Switzerland's motto is already engrained into the brains of 80's kids. It's the theme tune to Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.

    One for all, and all for one!

  20. douglas clark — on 12th December, 2009 at 12:31 pm  

    Perhaps you have lower standards that me, but I found no intelligent nor literate comments in that cesspool.

    Can I ask you why you use words like:

    ungoodthinkful

    or

    goodthinkful?

    I find it incredibly irritating, and unlikely to advance your case. This is, as we all know Orwells' ideas about how language could control thought. It is quite interesting but unacceptable, obviously, for a right wing pedant such as your good self, to appropriate it. You are trying to use Orwell against liberal thought. Which is perhaps what he wasn't for.

    Now, piss of with your sobadthoughtlessness.

  21. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2009 at 1:03 pm  

    Marvin:

    I like to think Alexandre Dumas (pere) would have heartily approved of Dogtanian. He would have found it hilarious.

  22. Soso — on 14th December, 2009 at 9:37 am  

    The same progressive who cheered the banning of crucifixes from Italian classrooms and who hailed it as a positive developmenet for secularism, are now the same jokers denouncing Switzerland's ban on Minarets as being bigoted.

    And then there is the spectacle of 'reasonable' Muslims screaming about racism and Islamophobia when the seat of their holiest shrines, Saudi Arabia, sreadfastly refuses to allow the construction of even a single church for the country's nearly 4 million Christian guest workers.

    Yes, Switzerland the country racism and 'islamophobia'.

    Saudi Arabia, land of tolerance and fair-play.

    If you're a leftist, that is.

  23. MiriamBinder — on 28th December, 2009 at 10:17 am  

    @ Pobeda … yawn!!!!!!

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