This has really nothing to do with Sweden. Or about being a Swedish American in Sweden. And it’s about a sport I just don’t really care all that much about, but I just couldn’t resist when I ran across this a few days ago. It’s been stuck in my head for a while. Festering if you will.
From UEFA.com and the article titled Finland's Maanoja suffers double leg break we get this gem of a sentence.
“Finland goalkeeper Tomi Maanoja, 22, is almost certain to miss this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Sweden after breaking his leg in two places during a friendly for AIK Solna on Saturday.”
Now I’m no mathematician, in fact, I stopped liking math around the time they started using more Greek letters than numbers. I might even describe myself as actively hating it. But that being said, I am capable of simple addition and subtraction. And a quick look at the above sentence reveals bigger problems than just a broken leg for the poor Finn. It seems he might not be able to play in the Under-21 Championship because he isn’t actually under 21. He’s 22. That makes it difficult to qualify.
I went over this in my head a bit. Trying to come up with ways that he could have snuck in. Some sort of red-shirt system like that found in the US and collegiate athletics. But Under-21 suggests that a 21 year old wouldn’t be able to play. So there goes any sort of theory that maybe he was eligible at the start of the year and just happened to turn 22 during the course of the season.
So I did a quick search on Maanoja. He was born September 12th, 1986. Making him only six months shy of his 23rd birthday. Clearly not under-21.
My old man suggested that UEFA might be trying to use some Chinese Olympic math in order to manipulate the age. The alternative is that the just can’t count.
Can someone please explain to me how this guy is eligible?
Welcome to Sweden. Where, as far as I know, people can count to 21.