Tattoos are a big deal in sports and it has been a staple in football culture among players and fans. Its rise in popularity can be credited to footballers showing off some skin on the pitch and displaying numerous body ink markings. It is indeed rare to find athletes without tattoos. It can be painful but it displays a statement of machismo or of something significant for the player. Clubs have allowed players to have tattoos. As long as it does not harm them, they can have as many as they desire.

However, a Bundesliga club recently set a ban on players getting tattoos during football season. Werder Bremen imposed the ban because of the fear that getting new tattoos could hinder the players’ performance on the pitch. It may seem absurd but their concern was actually due to an incident that happened with their rival club, Hamburg, whose striker had an infected tattoo. It is one incident but the club fear tattoos will cause more trouble than they are worth thus imposing the ban. Kalus Allofs, the Werder Bremen manager, said that tattoos were only banned during the season to exclude the risks involved. Hamburg, on the other hand, has not forced a ban for their players. In Australia, Adelaide United FC’s boss, Rini Coolen, has also banned tattoos during the season. He warns his players that timing must be considered before getting inked and doing it during football season, especially a few days before a game is not a good idea. Coolen said, “You don’t want to get a reaction out of getting a tattoo and miss out on games.” Both clubs are wary of tattoos. It may not be long until other clubs will follow their example.

What is it about tattoos that make it is attractive for football players? Well tattoos have been used since ancient times as a symbol of cultural significance, some even use it as memorabilia’s if something life altering happens to them. The popular thing for most footballers is to get the names of their children tattooed on their body parts. It can also serve as a fashion accessory. No need for the “bling” when you have a colorful depiction of a face, wings or foreign language quotes in your body. Getting inked can be quite risky and the pain and the possible complications can be deadly. AIDS can be transferred through an infected needle, but I’m pretty sure these football stars know where to get a sanitary tattoo, right? There is also the possibility of infection. What happened with Eljero Elia may not be the only isolated case of tattoo infection but it was bad enough that he was unable to wear his kit during training and he had to stop playing. Werder Bremen and Adelaide FC may not be incorrect in doing the ban but it certainly puts a damper on the players’ aesthetic needs. Werder Bremen’s more prominent tattoo enthusiasts are Tim Wiese, Marko Arnautovic and Naldo. Well these guys won’t be getting any more tattoos during the season. Other Bundesliga players need not worry since no other clubs are following suit, unless of course, more incidents of tattoos going septic happens. Let’s just hope no one goes to the ink artist where Elia got his tattoo.

Tattoo culture is also prevalent among fans. These fans show their support best by tattooing their clubs on their bodies. Last season, a Borussia Dortmund fan celebrated the champions by having a screaming Jurgen Klopp tattooed on his back. Another fan went to the extreme of having his favorite Colombian football star’s jersey tattooed all over his body. It certainly shows his dedication, no matter how cringe worthy it is. A few seasons ago a loyal Manchester City fan, out of excitement for an impending transfer, tattooed Kaka’s name on his chest because his club was near to closing the deal on a new contract with the soccer star. Unfortunately for the guy, Kaka did not leave AC Milan but at least he had a reminder of the transfer that never was. Some fans get tattoos through bets, but one fan got the losing end of the bet and was forced to get a tattoo of his rival club on his chest, the guy was a Manchester City fan and got a tattoo of Manchester United after losing a wager. Getting inked is a painful experience but getting the wrong tattoo can even be more painful and an Argentine football fan can attest to that. The guy went to get the tattoo of his favorite club, Boca Juniors, on his back not knowing that the tattoo artist was a fan of his rival club and instead of his club’s crest it was in the shape of a penis. He never knew until he went home and showed it to his mother. Some stories may be hilarious but there tattoos are a big deal for these fans. Fail or success, they always have a few tattoo war stories to tell and a memorabilia to display.

 This was a post by Carma Alicayayou can follow Carma on twitter

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1 comment

July 18th, 2011

The most tattooed footballer in the world has got to be Natasha Kai. Do a google image search, wonderful stuff, fabulous tattoos, awesome canvas! ;-)

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