Philosopher Three Sided Football Football Match - Madrid 7 May

posted by Geoff Andrews at Friday, May 06, 2011

Three Sided Football makes its first ever appearance in Spain this weekend (7 May), when Philosophy Football FC, the team which wears shirts adorned with the comments of famous philosophers about football, take on The XMen, made up of many of the foreign football correspondents in Madrid, including The Guardian’s Sid Lowe and Filippo Ricci of La Gazzetta dello Sport, and a mysterious team of Spanish Existentialists in a unique Three Sided Football match. Three Sided football was created by the Danish Situationist Asger Jorn who sought an alternative to the adversarial and conflict-ridden nature of modern society. He found his solution in an unusual adaptation of the beautiful game. Played on a specially constructed hexagonal pitch, Three Sided Football relies on cooperation rather than conflict between potential opponents, with the emphasis on forming alliances on the pitch and thinking deeply about tactics. Unlike conventional football, the winner is the team which concedes least, rather than scores most, goals.

In May 2010, Philosophy Football took part in a Three Sided Football match in London organised in conjunction with the Whitechapel Art Gallery, during the British General Election campaign. They represented the Labour Party against the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. It was Labour’s only victory of that period, as some truly philosophical defending kept a clean sheet against the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition which was about to start running the country.
Will this match have a similar significance for football? The temperature has been rising in Madrid over recent weeks following several hostile ‘Clasico’ encounters between Real and Barca. Philosophy Football’s manager Geoff Andrews hopes the Three Sided match will help to cool things down and provoke a more philosophical period of calm reflection. He says: ‘In Three Sided Football, your opponent can be your friend. The referee is the guardian of justice and the players are free artists of the beautiful game’.

The match will be played at Stadio Centro Deportivo Municipal la Elipa in Madrid (Kick off 13.00) on Saturday 7 May. Each team will represent three different philosophical positions which sum up the dilemmas of the modern game, but which also suggest the virtues of a change of tactics to accommodate the three sided logic. Solidarity, Satire and internationalism will be the three sided logic for this historic occasion. The Xmen will represent the thoughts of Jean-Paul Sartre, whose view was well-suited to the three sided idea.: ‘In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposition’. The Spanish existentialists will represent the classic Albert Camus, concerned as always with the situation of the outsider: 'All that I know most surely about morality and obligation I owe to football' and Philosophy Football, from London, will revive the classic International Philosophers Football match between Greek and German philosophers of the British satirists Monty Python

The Rules of Three-Sided Football

Rules of three-sided football

1. Scoring
A team does not count the goals it scores, only the goals it concedes. The winner is the team that concedes the fewest goals.
2. Throw-ins / goal-kicks / corners
On the hexagonal pitch, each team has two sides of the six-sided pitch: the side with the goal (the 'backside') and the side opposite to your goal (the 'frontside'). If the ball goes out on one of your two sides, you get the throw-in / goal-kick. If it went out off you, the throw-in or corner goes to the team whose own goal is nearest to where the ball went out.
3. Referees
While there is a temptation to have no referees with the following dictat in mind: 'The game deconstructs the mythic bi-polar structure of conventional football, where an us-and-them struggle mediated by the referee mimics the way the media and the state pose themselves as "neutral" elements in the class struggle', the match will have two referees, able to make discerning philosophical judgements.
4. Duration of match
Ideally, teams will play until people get bored, start to wander off, fall asleep etc: however, three thirty-minute 'halves' with teams rotating goals would work well
5. Other rules
There will be no off-sides. There will be rolling subs, rush goalies etc.

For interviews contact:

Filippo Ricci (0034) 677198966
Geoff Andrews (0044) 7976 635489