Monday, July 12, 2010

"Football" is unwell...

There's a ton of stuff out there at the moment about the world cup final, the Spanish won (deservingly so IMO) but the Dutch seem very upset at the whole affair, the main culprit in their eyes seems to be the British referee. The Dutch coach has gone on record criticizing the ref. saying that he "failed to control the match well"; I saw the match and I must say, I seemed to be watching a different game than the Dutch coach.

I'm not a typical football fan, I don't follow any team and generally find the game dull and overrated, however I like the idea of a "world cup". I like it in the same way that I like the idea of the Olympics and will happily watch it for hours on end. The result of this lethargic support is that I only watch football seriously every four years or so, which means that I see the macro-changes in the game and not the micro-changes.

Regular (proper) football fans I speak to seem unperturbed by the level of thuggery on show last night by the Dutch, apparently it's "part of the game". Is this a micro trend that i've missed or am I simply naive, has this kind of "negative professionalism" always been there? It seemed much more prevalent in this tournament, the lasting image of the 2010 world cup for me is of players rolling around the floor clasping their faces pretending to be mortally wounded.

For me, football seems to have a big problem, the stage has become too big for the actors, the expectations have become unrealistic. This has lead to team tactics and strategies that mainly rely on cheating for success; cheating that is tolerated by the fans of the game as "part of the game", an unsustainable oxymoron if ever I heard one. If the British referee last night had strictly adhered to the rules of the game and if he'd had video playback technology backing up the decisions then the Dutch would have only been left with 7 or 8 players in this match and the Spanish would have probably humiliated them. As it turned out the Dutch played a cynical and violent game designed to disadvantage their opponents through cheating, and then to top it all they blame the referee, total football?, total disgrace more like.

Well, the World Cup is over now and the right team won but I hope the next time I watch football we either have some technology in place that can eliminate this reliance on cheating, or football fans around the world have capitulated making violence, unfair decisions and stage-diving actually part of their game.

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