When eight of the world's most powerful individuals from eight of the world's most powerful countries meet at the annual G8 summit, the group has a lot to talk about: Economy, military, unemployment rate and just about every political issue possible.
At the 38th G8 summit in Camp David Maryland on Saturday, sports trumped politics for a few minutes. During the second afternoon of the two-day meeting, the group was engaged in discussions on Syria when German Chancellor Angela Merkel noticed intriguing news on her iPad.
The chancellor learned the Champions League final, featuring a German squad, Bayern Munich, was headed to penalty kicks. The group had watched a part of the game earlier, but had refocused itself on business. But Merkel could not focus on crucial global policy decisions. She had to watch the game.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had a stake in the game, as well. Chelsea, Bayern's opponent, an English club, was on the other side of the shootout, although it was Cameron who made sure the group put the summit ahead the soccer game earlier in the afternoon.
Barack Obama asked the prime minister why he did not want to watch with Merkel. "What's the point, we never win," he replied, according to The Guardian
That was likely a reference to another highly-publicized moment in which Cameron and Merkel watched soccer together. Two years ago, at the G20 summit in Toronto, the duo watched Germany slip past England 4-1 in the 2010 World Cup Round of 16.
Merkel had the last laugh.
This time around, Merkel and a group left the meeting to watch the game in an adjoining room. Cameron remained with the other leaders and tried to ignore the game. But as Bayern took the lead in the shootout and noise from the viewing room could be heard at the summit's main table, Cameron did what he had to do. The prime minister excused himself from the table and went to watch with Merkel. The rest of the group followed.
With Obama between them, Merkel and Cameron watched Chelsea's dramatic shootout comeback to win the title. Soccer speaking, the prime minister got his revenge on the chancellor.
The Champions League crown is now in British hands for the first time since 2008 when Manchester United defeated Chelsea in penalty kicks. The trophy has not been German property since 2001 when Bayern knocked off Valencia (Spain), also in penalty kicks.
Cameron was jubilant after the win, but he did make sure to show good sportsmanship. "There are many great privileges in this job but to be able to do that with the German chancellor was a great moment -- but we did hug and make up afterwards," he said.
Cameron also noted watching the shootout was not just an England and Germany affair. Other members of the summit became part of the storyline. "You've got the American president not fully understanding the rules of football, or soccer as he would call it, a very despondent German chancellor and, of course, another happy man in the room, which was the Russian prime minister," Cameron said.
The American president is Obama (no news on Obama turning on the Cubs-White Sox game to see how many baseball rules Cameron knew). The Russian prime minister is Dmitry Medvedev. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owns Chelsea and spent millions on its title run. "He thought there was some Russian skin in the game," Cameron said.
This will be far from the only time Cameron is involved in sports news over the next few months. With the Olympics coming to London in July, athletics are coming to be a hefty part of Cameron's summer.
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