11-17 July 2014 #715

Moving the goalposts

Moving the goalposts

After staying awake two nights in a row watching the World Cup semis,  the Ass is writing this week’s column while fast asleep. So I would appreciate it if you didn’t draw open the curtains, or make any loud noises and sudden movements. Just go away, and wake me up in time for the finals. 

At risk of being called a spoilsport let me play the devil’s advocate here, and for argument’s sake, put it to you that football is actually a pretty boring game. Football is said to be directly derived from an ancient Aztec tournament in which two teams kicked around decapitated heads of members of the other team in a blood-soaked arena. And it has been downhill ever since.

Watching football is now so excruciatingly dull that it makes even die-hard fans like me doze off ten minutes into the first half, especially if the match is taking place in the wee hours, so called I have been told because that is when most boys in boarding school wet their beds. In stark contrast, ice hockey is absolutely riveting because it is a vicious combination of kick-boxing and a sword fight involving a high speed chase on skates around a rink. American football is another modern contact sport that is scintillating because it combines the physical attributes of trench warfare with the Pamplona bull run.

In comparison, football is a really good cure for insomnia. Essentially, football (or “soccer” to the Moms out there) entails having 22 men in mohawks and tattoos running amok kicking each other in their gonads for 90 minutes without scoring, at the end of which they continue to play pointlessly on for another 30 minutes, after which each side gets five target practice shots. Then they strip in full view of 3 billion people and exchange jerseys.  How to make football more exciting? That question has bedeviled mankind ever since the collapse of the Aztec empire. The Ass has a few humble suggestions for Sepp, FIFA’s boss-for-life: 

1. Move the goalposts. Increase goal post width from 9m at present to 25m so there are more chances of goals being scored. What we want to see are scores in the finals like Argentina 73 - Germany 9.

2. Allow offsides. Strikers will be allowed to loiter around the enemy goal post waiting for a long pass.

3. Don’t level the playing field. In fact, incline it at 15 degrees to give the stronger side the advantage of running downhill and scoring more goals.

4. God gave us hands. But hands are allowed only for throw-ins and goalies. What a waste. Let’s grab the ball and hit the ground running.

5. Allow fouls. Players should be allowed to tackle using Muay Thai and Ninjutsu techniques to bring down enemy players, and the referee as well if he doesn’t behave himself. Hooliganism in the D area will also be allowed.

6. Allow diving. Players who feign falls should not be given yellow cards, they should be given an Oscar in the Best Supporting Role Category.

7. No hands on crotches. Defenders setting up a wall to face a free kick near the penalty area will no longer be allowed to protect their crown jewels with their hands. It’s a disgusting habit.

8. Sack referees and linesmen. We don’t need them, they just slow the game down by stopping play at the slightest excuse. And let’s replace the vanishing spray with pepper spray and let players settle scores on their own.

9. Change shape of balls. Look at the Americans, they took a dreary game, changed the shape of the ball from a round object into something resembling a near-earth asteroid so it would bounce much more crazily.  And they have so much more fun.

10. Increase the number of players. Populating the field with more players will liven up the game. Up number of players on each side from 11 to 56. Mix teams with men and women players, and get them to take off their jerseys.

In this manner, football will be much more exciting. More goals will also mean more  commercial breaks, and that means more sponsors, and that means we can have the World Cup every year instead of every four years. 

FIFA is under tremendous pressure to move the 2022 World Cup from Qatar because of 50 Celsius heat and labour rights issues. Solution: move the games to Kathmandu. So, no need to import Nepali workers to build air-conditioned stadiums. It’s a win-win, and we can rename it the FIFA Third World Cup.

Read also:

World Cup Nepal 2034

The Dark Side of International Migration

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