Great day today as the comedians vanquished their opponents at Amnesty’s “comedians vs critics football match” today at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank stadium. What’s more it was SUNNY in SCOTLAND, a rare occurrence. I am even sunburned!
The final scoreline was 3-2 to the comedians and both teams played their hearts out for jailed Burmese comedian Zarganar.
Sensational goals from comedians Simon Brodkin, Danny McLaughlin and Doc Brown catapulted the comedians into an early lead. But a second half comeback from the critics, with goals from the List’s Peter Geoghegan and Nick Eardley from Fest magazine, teed it up for a nail-biting finish. Another ten minutes and they could have pulled level. Special mention to Eric Lampert who not only played in the comedians’ goal wearing sunglasses and cowboy boots, but also made at least three spectacular saves.
In a game billed as “such a grudge match they had to get Amnesty International to referee”, most players showed respect for each others’ human rights. The Amnesty International referee Gianmaria Bandiera rarely had to blow his whistle and has offered to cook us all dinner tonight.
Amnesty refused to confirm reports that comedian Keith Farnam could be referred to the International Criminal Court for a challenge on one of the critics.
Comedians captain Rob Rouse accepted a trophy from Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson and duly showered his team-mates in cheap champagne. He said:
“Playing to help Amnesty’s campaign for Zarganar gave the comedians’ side that extra bit of fighting spirit to hold on to our lead. At the end of the day the result was never in doubt except for quite a large wobble in the last ten minutes.
“Everyone gave 110 per cent, Brian, and I’m proud of the way the boys conducted themselves today. I’d also like to give credit to our opponents but the game really was played in the spirit of true sportsmen and the style of under-14’s netball.
“Football really was the winner today.”
Both sides proudly wore the name of Zarganar on their shirts to highlight our campaign to secure his release from prison in Burma. Zarganar, one of Burma’s most famous comedians, was jailed for 35 years in 2008 after he criticised the government. Take action at www.amnesty.org.uk/zarganar.
The Guardian sent its video team to the game, so look out for their match report on guardian.co.uk tomorrow, as well as the next Amnesty podcast on Tuesday.
Big thanks to co-organisers Fest for providing fizzy wine and a fabulour trophy, and to our army of volunteers who ensured the whole event went off smoothly. The Amnesty Edinburgh Festival team are now sunburned, exhausted and excited about this Thursday’s Stand Up For Freedom gig at the EICC – should be a corker.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.