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24th Jun 2016

Harry Kane and Giorgio Chiellini have very different views on Brexit

Chalk and cheese

Nooruddean Choudry

It’s not really fair on footballers to ask them to unravel the socio-economic implications of Brexit.

The British public were bombarded with all sorts of contradictory warnings about what staying within or leaving the EU would mean. They were showered with disingenuous bullshit from all sides for weeks and then expected to decide upon a referendum that would have huge ramifications upon all of our lives.

Because footballers are afforded such an elevated position in our modern culture, their opinions are sought on anything remotely newsworthy. Why they should be expected to be any more enlightened than the man in the street is anyone’s guess. On the rare occasions they do offer an opinion, they face a backlash.

England Media Access - UEFA Euro 2016 : News Photo

So it’s little wonder that most players choose the safe option and straight-bat anything controversial with the most mundane answers possible. Alas when Harry Kane was wheeled out at the England press conference on Friday, he was inevitably quizzed about the leave campaign prevailing in the vote.

In fairness to Kane, he was honest. He explained with commendable frankness that he didn’t know enough about what Brexit meant to offer an opinion. He confessed: “I don’t think that any of us know too much about it to comment on it, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

When pressed about whether he was concerned about the UK leaving the trading bloc, he admitted, “No. Like I said I don’t know enough about it to be concerned about it.” Now such quotes may sound ill-informed and ignorant to some, but that’s Harry Kane. He doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Italy v Sweden - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016 : News Photo

It’s just unfortunate that it came on the same day that another footballer at the Euros was asked his opinion on the same issue – Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. And it total contrast to the England man, he sounded acutely aware of the geo-political implications and spoke in refreshingly nuanced terms:

“The main concern should be about an eventual domino effect caused by this decision. I don’t think that a simple UK exit can change the equilibrium of the whole European economy, or the world economy, aside from the heartburn everybody’s feeling these days.

“This vote is the symbol of a general discussion that you can feel in Italy and all across Europe, but I think that discontent shouldn’t lead to a vote for disintegration.”

Forget Kane, many of our politicians could learn a thing or two from the Azzurri man’s unscripted summation.

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