"YOU SHALL NOT MAKE ME CHANGE AAAAAAANNNNNNNYYYYTTTTTHHHHHHIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!"
Football, or soccer for y’all American types is the most popular team sport in the world. With hundreds of millions of people around the globe indoctrinated into the fellowship of the spherical ball the game, both as a sport and as a spectacle, has never been more popular.
Yet fundamentally football has many flaws, and at certain levels the rules of the game to all intense and purposes seek to undermine the essence of the sport itself. With the archaic powers that be asserting their rigid reluctance to accept even the most patently obvious flaws in our game (lack of goal line technology), football stumbles on an old man trying to adapt to a modern world.
Yet if Sepp Blatter had an iota of foresight he would acknowledge that hating the English national team is not the sole facet of his presidency remit, and, dare I say it, actually do something?
If you’re reading Sepp, here are five little changes for starters.
Without a doubt the most patently obvious flaw castrating current world football. Many a seasoned campaigner has racked his wily old brain in pondering of that most elusive of conundrums; “Why oh why doesn’t football use goal-line technology yet?”
Back in 2010 Britain was in uproar after a rather incompetent referee linesman combination denied a Frank Lampard goal in their quarter final tie vs. Germany. The ball, despite replays showing it to be over a metre past Germany keeper Manuel Neur’s line, after striking the underside of the bar, was incorrectly ruled out.
A number of remedies have entered the formative stage in a bid to appease public outcry at the flaw, yet FIFA stock reversion to the two little black clothed men to sort out all their problems has, as yet, persisted. One option was even muted that a third goal-line official might be introduced, but despite preliminary trialling the third wheel was served his P49 before he had even began.
Investigations, such as they are, are ongoing to fix the malaise, but as a rational member of society I’m buckling in for the long-haul on this one.
This law is one that, unlike goal-line technology, has passed the planning stage and will be initiated into world football at the beginning of next season.
The idea of financial fair play is to curb the kamikaze spending precedent that has been set in world football. The plan, which will be rolled out in increments from next year, aims to make all—yes even Man City—financially lucrative.
The move will stop the kind of spending splurge a club may indulge in after procuring the patronage of a hugely wealthy benefactor, instead putting the onus on financial stability.
Club’s the choose to flaunt the guidelines will, from the 2013-14 season onwards be susceptible to a season ban from elite European competition, before a reassessment at the end of the year.
I don’t think there’s many more abhorrent practices in football than the pampered prima donna's genetic predilection to harangue the referee after every unsatisfactory decision.
Although, following some high-profile campaigns such as this year “Stamp It Out” initiative, the trend seems to have waned slightly, the tendency is still prevalent.
Not only a slight on the ethics of fair play, the harassment of officials, to many defined by Paulo Di Canio’s infamous push on man in black Paul Alcock back in 98, undermines the spectacle the game should stand for. Rather than a stage to promote fair play and sporting excellence, overzealous harassment of the man in the middle, simply flaunts such distasteful behaviour to the adoring masses.
To truly “stamp it out” though a tougher precedent must be set, and I’m talking bans for the most enthusiastic participants not slaps on the wrists “for the naughty boys”—only then will it stop.
In the playground it would be called bullying. The bigger boy walks around and takes all the smaller boys toys and runs of with them, calling them his own; yet in football it is called “player poaching.”
In a way not too dissimilar from the big game poachers of the Serengeti reserve, the perennial heavyweights are, or envisage themselves to be at least, at liberty to cherry-pick the continents brightest young talent.
The practice is increasingly commonly seen to descend on Italy, where players are not permitted through stature to sign official legal forms until they turn 18.
A key example of this in practice is the saga surrounding Federico Macheda’s transfer to Manchester United in summer 2007. The then 16-year-old Italian striker had been plying his fledgling trade for Serie A side Lazio, before United took advantage of the loophole in the system to take Macheda to their own youth academy.
Probably the most high profile case of “player poaching,” however centred on the questionable "transfer" of Lens’ French prodigy Gael Kakuta from the French side to EPL heavyweights Chelsea. The nuances of Kakuta’s “transfer” to Chelsea were so hotly contested by his irate former employers that the saga almost resulted in a transfer embargo for the blue side of London.
We are no longer in the playground but many feel that playground poaching transcends the barriers with our children’s schoolyard. Is it time to stick up for the little guys?
With the vast sums of money that are now dependant on the results of football matches, the stakes have never been higher. With this added pressure (some may call it); however, an altogether more marginalised practice has grown in its duplicity.
In scenes that would make Britain’s Olympic diving hope Tom Daley proud an increasing number of swooning players have been found hurling themselves to the ground, sent flying by the imaginary foot that never was. The scene sounds comical but the reality is far from, as the motive for these blatant dives are in search of free-kicks and penalties, goal-scoring opportunities, procured by foul means.
The divers have received almost universal condemnation from all corners and chief protagonists such as Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s Luis Nani have come in for widespread criticism.
Without video technology the need to eradicate diving from the game is even more of a necessity, as the potential for a game, a season to become defined by a cunning dive is a very definite threat. Stand up, shut up?