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How to link war in Ukraine to football and the Oscars slap

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

Unexpected events triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine part 428: A small English football club has suspended operations after accusing its owners of breaching sanctions on Moscow as well as “environmental crimes, price fixing, deforestation, forced evictions, human rights abuses, child labor, slavery, gender discrimination and murder.” I thought those things were obligatory for people who own football clubs!

Staines Town FC said the reason for the shutdown was so the authorities could investigate and prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that its owner Downing — a capital markets company — is not funding slavery.

Downing has denied the “wild allegations” from the club.

If and when the football club in Staines — one of Britain’s funniest place names, up there with Shitterton, Twatt, Wetwang and Cocks — does get up and running again, its fans are surely duty-bound to come up with a terrace chant featuring that list of alleged crimes and if they do, they should get to win the Champions League as a reward.

Much less unexpected (in fact crushingly predictable) was politicians weighing in on the Oscars debacle. I know that the first thing we were all thinking after seeing the footage was “I wonder what Simon Hoare, the British Conservative MP, thinks of this remarkable turn of events?” Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait to long to get Hoare’s opinion as he tweeted: “I’d just hope if someone thought it in good taste to make a joke at the expense of a medical condition of my wife then I’d get up and lamp him.” Lamp, for non-British readers, means to punch with some force.

At least Hoare didn’t try and make a tenuous link between the Oscars and the invasion of Ukraine. Alas, not everyone was able to resist that temptation, including the Indian actor-turned-politician Paresh Rawal, who tweeted that comedians “are in danger everywhere, be it Chris or Zelensky.”

Obviously being slapped in the face by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and having your country invaded are on rather different ends of the suffering spectrum. That said, when this senseless war is over and the dust — literal and metaphorical — has settled, who among us wouldn’t go and see a big budget film in which Chris Rock stars as Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Will Smith is Vladimir Putin (maybe Simon Hoare can be played by Steven Seagal)?

In case anyone from Hollywood is reading, I can have a first draft of the script over by Monday!

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Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“Finally a ‘no-fly zone’ everyone can agree on,” by Christoffer Jakobsson Gottberg

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s Slot News Editor.

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