Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Chances are, you've never been to Myanmar. And correct me if I'm wrong, but you've also never been to a soccer game in Myanmar, because it's Myanmar, and because it's illegal for five people to gather in the same place.

In an A1 story, The Wall Street Journal offers a postcard from a soccer match in the eight-team Myanmar National League, where more than 10,000 fans sometimes congregate to stick it to the secret policemen in the military intelligence. Yangon is a far way from the Bronx — where it's technically legal to attend a Yankees game, even though the seats are empty — but tickets still go for 10 times their face value of $1. (For their part, the police only enforce the five-person limit law selectively.)


The sport has long been stitched into the country's fabric — former team names include "Central Supply and Transport Depot" and "Forestry," which is only slightly more illogical than "Coal Bears." The league's new slogan, "For The League, For The Nation," represents the essential truth about soccer in Mynamar, where, in this case, it really is more than just a game. It's an expression of freedom.

Speaking of, to whom can we attribute this reporting? An unnamed WSJ staff reporter whose actual byline was withheld because revealing the reporter's name would have put him at undue risk, the newspaper confirmed to us. Indeed, in the last year, the Journal has run five anonymous dispatches, all from Myanmar. Someone tell the next hack who files a soccer gamer from the country formerly known as Burma that he's entitled to that protection, too.

And for the record, I've got Magway FC in the office pool. Chalk. If Yangon United comes from behind to shock the league, maybe I'll let Daulerio bash me in the face with a cookie sheet.


PHOTO: Wall Street Journal, duh.

Amid Myanmar's Gloom, Pro Soccer Gives Locals A Chance To Cheer [WSJ]

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