There is something about association football that is very attractive. The game is played by more than 250 million players in more than 200 countries and has the highest television audience in the sport. What is it that makes soccer so popular? Do you still have your sportsmanship?
I am familiar with football in England both on television and from the stands.
Some argue that unfair play is ruining the game. Experts speak of the so-called “tactical foul” as if it were acceptable. As if taking advantage of an unfair advantage is okay. However, don’t cheating undermine fair play?
We hear about ‘professional foul’ as when it is said approvingly ‘He took one for the team’ for an unfair advantage, perhaps to stop a dangerous attack on goal. His infraction resulted in a yellow card from the referee.
Similarly, “diving” can be cheeky. More difficult to referee is the player who falls unnecessarily when there is some kind of physical contact with the tackler. This is more common. When a player is seemingly injured only to get up a little later and immediately sprint across the field, fans are outraged. This is because faking an injury occurs in order to cause a stoppage in play and give teammates a break or encourages the referee to soften a red card by expelling the opposing player from the field.
Some argue that sometimes a “win at all costs” attitude develops and this is killing the spirit of the game, for example putting the ball into the net with the hand. It is better to enjoy football for yourself than to believe that the only thing that matters is whether we win or lose.
Being a sore loser hurts sportsmanship
It is good to see opposing players and coaches shake hands after a match and both teams congratulate each other for their efforts. Similarly, the crowd cheers when a player kicks the ball offside if a player on the opposite side is injured so they can get help.
However, bad losers make little complaints about all sorts of things. When winning at all costs rules our hearts, then we will feel really fed up after a loss. Disgusted with the referee, substitutions, bad luck.
But maybe the opposing team deserved to win in all honesty. They did not cheat but showed good skill and effort. How many times have you accepted? Yes, we were outmatched, thought out, outmatched and outmatched: the best team won. Everyone is attracted to those who seem honest and fair. Even children know what justice is and they get more upset when cheating is done.
Verbal abuse in soccer
Soccer is just a game. But by being hidden in the crowd, some people want to be verbally abusive. They openly express hostility towards the opposing team’s players, referees, or people of a different race than their own. Some fans have even been known to abuse their own players who have made mistakes.
Even in amateur play, abuse directed at the referee can continue by some players, coaches and fans. Some parents have been heard yelling and cursing the referees in front of their own children. Unfortunately, soccer culture now has its perverse side.
Loss of community sportsmanship
Being part of a stadium crowd can be a wonderful experience. Just being there and being a part of the drama and spirit of the game with its excitement and unpredictability is a huge part of the fun. Living the 90 minutes with its ups and downs and fulfillments and disappointments.
However, without live football on English terrestrial television, people watch the highlights of the day’s match and seem happy just to see the goals, red cards and penalties and not much else. Even watching football live on pay TV lacks the common aspect of football as a sport. Instead of being part of the crowd, the TV viewer is watching a removed place.
Loss of competition in soccer
Top-notch modern football in England has been replaced by pay TV. He has invested billions of pounds in creating astronomical salaries, transfers and agent fees. And to some extent, all this money has translated into success in the field and a business windfall. Why else would entrepreneurs want to invest primarily in the best clubs in the Premier League? So much so that others can barely compete and the same few big clubs are there or at the top at the end of the season.
Income disparities between the various leagues were once narrow, giving lower league teams more chances for victory by virtue of having good veterans and talented young players with various cup competitions open to them. Now there is an absolute gulf between the upper level and other levels of the game.
When the playing field is so uneven, it unfortunately reduces unpredictability, which is vital for sportsmanship. Matches with one of the richest clubs can sometimes turn into an exhibition with a forgotten conclusion rather than a competition.
Monetary guidance in soccer
The average salary in the Premier League is about £ 200,000 per month, £ 2.5 million per year. Fans are constantly trying to assess players’ commitment to revenue, fees paid to performance. Consequently, some commentators suggest that soccer is now about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. If it is true that football has become primarily money, it seems to be ruining the game of the highest category.
Conclusion on sportsmanship
Sport can be deeply satisfying to play and observe when the sportsmanship of the game is present. This means being honest with ourselves about our team’s performance, showing consideration for everyone involved, celebrating participation in shared enjoyment, and playing fair.
“Everything that is good and true, just and just, and also honorable, has a strong and hidden power within it to attract people’s minds.” (Emanuel Swedenborg, spiritual philosopher)