The ‘beautiful game’?

I hate football.

Well… actually, I don’t. I hate EVERYTHING around it. I hate the system.

The kicking of the ball on the field can be a great thing to watch, even for me. Players like 90s legend Matt Le Tissier turned football into a thing of beauty. Forget that he was a talented, brilliant footballer. There were no histrionics; he let his football do the talking, and his football was stunning. He was also endearingly loyal to his club, probably to his own detriment, staying with Southampton throughout his career even when bigger clubs called. But the ‘system’ is another matter entirely…

It’s ironic really. One of the most accessible sports… after all, all you need is a bit of land, ball, jumpers for goal posts, lots of enthusiasm, and you have a game. In theory it is ‘the beautiful game’. I watch a lot of sport, and have played some, but it seems many are expensive to play. Whether it be kit, equipment, or facilities it can cost a bundle. Football has no such limitations. I should love it for its simplicity, but instead I force myself to support the home nations whenever they play, and try to ignore domestic football completely.

The system failure starts with domestic football. The amount of money changing hands for top flight players is obscene, and gets more obscene with every transfer. And what do we get? We get some players who clearly want to take up a different sport, like diving, or maybe a different profession altogether, such as acting, examples of which can be viewed in this YouTube Video.

Then we get football ‘fans’ shouting racist comments to players with different coloured skin, or even throwing various things on to the pitch.
Football seems to breed tribalism and pack mentality. It also apparently kills brain cells of some ‘fans’ at an alarming rate, hence the tribalism and pack mentality.

System failure then trickles up to televised coverage. As someone who thinks too much my chagrin goes in many directions. When I was a child, pretty much the only knowledge I had of domestic football was that football matches were played at 3pm on a Saturday, one of which I think was shown on television. Then along came Sky. Fast forward to present day and we don’t have televised matches at 3pm on a Saturday. They’re still played, they just can’t be viewed. Unless YOU ARE ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE, then you can see any number of BRITISH Premier league matches on tv.

Matches are televised at other times though. It seems like football is on every other hour of the day. Then there are random nights for international ‘friendlies’. I can imagine all sorts of arguments in homes when the ‘footy is on’ on a Friday night…

Then there is the monopoly. Sky had the monopoly on football for many years until some bright spark (who CLEARLY doesn’t understand the meaning of the word monopoly) decided to give some football to other providers, one of which is another ‘pay channel’. Now… to stop the monopoly is to give the different providers the same matches so that us, the poor viewer (well, not me, because I don’t watch) have a CHOICE. But no, they give some matches to one provider, some to another. So if your match of choice is on the other channel, you’re out of luck.

Now let’s get down to nuts and bolts, cost. The latest Premier league tv rights cost Sky and BT Sport £5.1 Billion. That’s BILLION, and this is one time you don’t want the trickle down effect to occur but sure enough it does and that cost will trickle down to me as a Sky subscriber, which really hurts when I don’t even watch football.

Let’s trickle up to international football. Never mind certain players in the GB (That’s Great Britain for anyone who’s unclear) football teams not singing the BRITISH national anthem at the Olympics because they weren’t from ENGLAND. I know that’s confusing, suffice to say some people think the British national anthem is the English national anthem. But let’s get straight to the top.

Sepp Blatter.

My dislike of this person’s behaviour goes back a few years. In international football there needs to be a move forward. FIFA needs to embrace technology to help the game. Rugby has managed it. But no… all the shocking decisions that are still made at international level and Blatter has to be pushed kicking and screaming to get with the times. You would think he would want the game to be as good as it can be, and for the game to be as good as it can be many things have to be considered. This includes the logistics. I’m a fan of logistics, it aids common sense. If we apply logistics to, say, the World Cup, we could conclude that it’s not a good idea to hold the World Cup in Antarctica because it would be flippin’ cold. We could also conclude that it would not be a good idea to hold the World Cup in Qatar where the temperature reaches over 100 degrees. This is bad for players and spectators alike. And what about the workers? Logistics would perhaps suggest that it’s not a good idea to hold the World Cup in a country with barely any football infrastructure because it’s very hot, needs intensive work and workers will be at risk. That door, sadly, has already opened.

FIFA need to choose more wisely the countries that host. I know they say that there should be no politics in sport but the way a country generally behaves should also be a factor. If a country has a dodgy human rights record, they should not have the privilege of hosting the World Cup. It may be difficult at the time, but this is the way countries change for the better. It’s rewarding bad behaviour if nothing is done, and FIFA have a responsibility not to reward bad behaviour. FIFA have a responsibility to be seen to be doing the right thing.

African countries feel that Blatter has done a lot for football in their countries, but at what cost? And could another organisation have done even better? We won’t know for a while. Blatter is finally on his way out and hopefully FIFA will be put through the wash and will come out all sparkly and clean to bring integrity back to international football. My husband says that as the biggest/most popular sport in the world with few exceptions, football is where the money is, so that’s where the corruption is, and if cricket were the biggest sport in the world it would be exactly the same.

I disagree with my husban, but it’s a horrible thought to ponder.

The ‘beautiful game’?

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