Some of Borges’ critiques are valid and relevant today. The nationalism generated by football does result in the fanaticism, hatred, racism, and xenophobia displayed by fans all over the world. Also, how the game is used by politicians and dictators for their own self-interest and to support their political objectives.
These are all undeniable realities that are still an ugly part of football.
But even a genius like Borges can be wrong.
The flow and artistry of the game is beautiful and timeless. It is not mind boggling that Borges was not able to understand and recognize the aesthetic wonder that is football.
His own prejudices brought out the blinders.
Soccer is popular,” Jorge Luis Borges observed, “because stupidity is popular.”
At first glance, the Argentine writer’s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of today’s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I can’t stand the fake injuries.
And it’s true: Borges did call soccer “aesthetically ugly.”
He did say, “Soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.”