Football suicides, though often related to gambling losses and debts, are disturbingly common ยูฟ่าเบท. In Nairobi in 2009, Suleiman Omondi hanged himself wearing his Arsenal shirt after his side had lost 3–1 to United. Conversely, in 2013 a Manchester United fan plunged to his death from the seventh-floor balcony of an apartment block after his side had lost to Newcastle United.
Football gambling related to losses and debts
The marital consequences of football have become a perennial of Africa’s agony aunts who encourage women to accommodate their partners’ obsession, not merely by timing meals and family events around the fixture list, but by embracing their club.
A study of the impact of the Premier League on the small village of Bugamba in south-western Uganda in the late 2000s suggests much more than marital relations has changed. The purchase of a satellite dish and a football subscription by one resident of the village led to the creation of a viewing house which proved phenomenally popular.
Within a few months, the viewing house was the ufabet centre of village social life, a significant employer in its own right, while the owners rose significantly up the village’s social pecking order. Over a two-to-three-year period, the villagers’ conceptions of time and space changed too. While before the Premier League the basic distinctions were morning-afternoon-night, familiarity with its schedules meant locals began to use clock time.
A quarter to eight meant nothing until it meant a midweek evening kick-off. Similarly, before the arrival of the EPL, the rest of the world was referred to as burayeas, which roughly translated as ‘the global domain’. Familiarity with the cosmopolitan make-up of the Premier League meant that villagers – now arguing as to whether a player was a Croat, a Slovene or from the Ukraine – became acquainted with the basic geography of the world. Priorities shifted too, as dinner dates, previously unbreakable, could be shifted to accommodate the football schedules, so too marriages, baptisms and church services.
Gambling, previously unknown in the village, became widespread, as did its malign social consequences. In 2009, the satellite broadcaster GTV went bust, and so too did the owner of the viewing house, who had extensive debts secured against his now football-less business and land. He lost both.