"Football at all costs" – How hope evaporates

TS Productions / ARTE France

At the moment every football fan is struggling with the consequences of the pandemic for the most wonderful thing in the world. Only ghost games and no EM. But the real dark side of sport was there even before Corona. Arte traces them in a documentary tonight.


In summer 2018, the just 18-year-old young footballer Abdelmalek Amara from Le Havre, France, is putting all his hopes into a professional career. Get rich with the round leather, cars, houses, marriage and family. But the boy of Algerian descent is thwarted. His club, Le Havre Athletic Club (HAC), one of the country’s largest talent factories for more than 140 years, does not give the promising young football player a contract for the second division.

The French documentary filmmaker Fabrice Macaux mixed with the camera into the life of the young man at two crucial points in Abdel’s life for the 55-minute documentary “Football at All Costs”, to be seen this Wednesday at 9.50 p.m .: being his Instructor in Le Havre before the club management and Abdel’s father explained that the club would not take him over and half a year later, when his old coach still mediated him to second division club SC Bastia.

However, after filming has been completed, this is also clear: The “Transfermarkt.de” portal shows that the now 20-year-old ended up at MC Oran in Bastia in Algeria after an unsuccessful six months, for whom he had just two in the past season Games completed. The career that Abdel and above all his ambitious father promised so much seems to be over. And with it also the dream of big money, which should have burst in many Corona times.

Abdelmalek Amara is a child like many, especially in France: a boy with migrant roots, rebellious, but also insecure, always on the lookout for his own profile: in front of his teacher in the club’s own HAC school, he says what he thinks about life hope: “Money is something nice, money.” The lady just shakes her head. His coach puts his doubts in a nutshell: “Abdel can show you great things in football, with him you win games.” But his discipline leaves something to be desired. Getting out of bed in the morning is not his thing.

At home, Abdel shows his other face: he is loving with his little niece, he cares for his severely disabled mother, but he has to listen to his father’s timpani, which demands that he be mature enough. He would like to take an example from his sister, who made up her high school diploma and developed ambition in her job. Abdel has that too. But professional football is a bottleneck. Only a few fit through. And if you can’t do that, you have to flip the switch, reinvent your life.

Abdel will probably have no other option.


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