Me and the Football World Cup - it's over
MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Martin van Beynen
OPINION: Lists are the big thing at the moment. Top tens are very much at the top of the list phenomenon so here are my top 10 reasons why I will (probably) never watch another World Football Cup.
1. Watching the World Cup is rewarding Fifa, the body controlling world football, for its corruption, nepotism, personal greed and cynical exploitation of the sport. The only reason the world continues to tolerate the rottenness at the top is because we care more about the football than the administration. As long as the show carries on, we are prepared to encourage rank abuses of a system which needs to be completely overhauled. Although no further proof of the corruption is really required, one word should be enough. Qatar.
2. By watching World Cups I am endorsing, through my viewership, the fact the tournaments are bad for the host countries. Inevitably the cost of stadiums and improved infrastructure far outstrips the original estimates and optimistic projections. Delays and disasters are also predictable and without fail the Government - that is the taxpayer - has to step in to save everyone from embarrassment. Notice how it always looks as if nothing will be ready in time and then suddenly, just when the whole event will have to be abandoned, all is on track. Poor countries should not be allowed to host such events. The amount of money devoted to the silliness is criminal and would be much better spent on better housing and health. Having said that, medium rich countries should not be allowed to either.
3. Football is actually pretty boring when it comes down to it, particularly at World Cup level. Although I enjoyed watching the Dutch team humiliate the Spanish and seeing the Germans annihilate Brazil, most of the games were boring encounters with caution being rewarded over enterprise and flair. It is too easy to kill games by stacking the defence and hanging on for dear life for the penalties at the end. It's a game where it is too hard to score goals and deciding tight matches with penalties is a travesty. The only good thing about penalties is they are often the most exciting part of the match but that in itself is a sad indictment of the game.
4. Most top football players are cheats. The number of times I have had to endure watching promising play nipped in the bud by a foul or sneaky transgression has finally killed the game for me. And I haven't even mentioned the dives and drama queens. Give me an honest bite any day. Because it is such a fast game, even the best referees struggle. Every World Cup is marred by shocking decisions. Football players should be ashamed they have destroyed the game.
5. The World Cup is entirely predictable. Well, except for the Germany-Brazil match. The African nations always look good but usually implode. England is a perennial disappointment. The final stages are always between a couple of teams from South America and a couple from Europe. The Dutch team will always break my heart and destroy any last vestiges of optimism I have.
6. Watching hyped up sport, hours and hours of it, really is a waste of time, especially when it is predictable, exploitative, foul- ridden and often boring. Whoever said sport was opium for the masses was right. I could have cleaned the bathroom 300 times and run at least five marathons in the time I spent watching this world cup.
7. Football players are paid ridiculous amounts and the World Cup just underpins the whole rotten system and encourages club owners to fork out even more for prima donnas who have bad manners and poor tastes in cars and women. In fact all professional sport has reached a point of such ludicrous hype and commercialism we should just take a break and get back to reality.
8. The Dutch team (which I support in the absence of a NZ team which will never make another World Cup) will never win the World Cup. I used to think it was because they didn't care enough. A sort of Dutch casualness and lack of desire reserved for the most important moments. But this could not be said for this Dutch side. Now I realise it is one of those unwritten laws of nature like the fact your toast will always land on the floor buttered side down.
9. We invest far too much in patriotism and national pride. If we just stopped caring so much about some people from our neck of the woods kicking a ball around on a bit of grass we might be able to care about important things like world peace which we can actually do something about. Well more than world football, anyway.
10. And finally I will (probably) never watch another World Football cup because at this stage in my life I want to avoid pain and watching the Dutch team go out on penalties is exquisite torture.
- The Press