The Soccer ball and other sports

This morning, I was woken up with the information in regards to ‘concerns’ in regards to the world championship soccer. I have never been much of a soccer fan, even though I was born in the Netherlands. It was never my cup of cacao.

When I heard of the concerns, I thought that made perfect sense, then my eyes saw the pictures of the stadium. I think they are concepts, not unlike other images that Google showed. No matter which one will be build, these stadiums are amazing pinnacles of design. It left with me that sparkle I had when I saw the first images of the Munich Olympics in 1972. It was overcast by events that will remain a black page on sporting events forever, but the stadiums looked amazing.

So is this about the stadium? Not quite!

As we introduce sports to other parts of the worlds, the sports will take on a new dimension, this is equally the case now that soccer will be hosted by Qatar (in 2022). It brings small changes. I saw the concerns and I do not disagree, yet what are the alternatives? Play a game at dawn and a game at night? Play only late at night?

Are those not alternatives? The nights can be cool in the Middle East, I experienced that first hand for months, so moving the cup date until late autumn, or perhaps early summer/late spring?

These are all options, yet the first thing I heard stated when the winter option was given, was that it could interfere with the FA Cup. (The Dutch are likely to state the KNVB cup). So is all this about the cup itself or the issues surrounding advertisement revenues?

The World cup is only once every 4 years, it’s not like it is a daily exercise. Qatar is also the consequence for growing the sport. They won fair and square and it was voiced (and I do not disagree) that it should be held there. Yes, player safety need to be on the forefront of considerations, which is why moving the event to a non-summer month is a good idea in my mind. If we look at www.weatheonline.co.uk we see that March to May, if the matches are early or late in the day seems to be the best, after that it is likely to be October to December (which might not be ideal for others). The days might be warm in these instances, yet the nights are definitely not warm, so there should be quite the cooling when the sun goes down.

I do find this situation interesting, with 209 FIFA nations, this is the first time that players will be subjected to these tropical conditions. Consider these tropical nations playing under what they would consider Arctic conditions? These players in a rare twist of fate will have the home weather advantage, and if in the end Scotland or Sweden take home the cup? What a party that would be!

In the article I disagree with the quote “His predecessor David Bernstein said in June that any plans to move the World Cup to the winter were ‘fundamentally flawed’.” (At http://news.sky.com/story/1126848/fa-boss-summer-world-cup-in-qatar-impossible)

Flawed by what reasoning? It is a given that his concern was the FA cup, that is fair enough, but this is the FIFA world cup! Yet, in all honesty, I cannot truly oppose his statement as it would disrupt national cups in many European nations, which is a truth. Yet, the idea becomes, why must we tailor to get it all? Should these players be subject to 64 additional games at all cost? Seems to be a little one sided. However, moving it to spring could be an idea too. I reckon that this could work if we take the sport into mind. Many cup officials in several nations are now playing with Excel to see the advertisement and sponsor ‘damage’ that is a direct consequence of these events.

That part seems not to be too ‘illuminated’ at present. Yet when we read the Telegraph (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/leisure/8552114/McDonalds-joins-Coca-Cola-and-Visa-in-calling-for-Fifa-change.html) we read “McDonald’s joins Coca-Cola and Visa in calling for Fifa change“.

It seems that these three are adamant in maximising their view at every expense (bang for the buck approach), even at the expense of sports. If Jamie Oliver is to be believed, then the hamburgers from McDonald are not for human consumption, so why are they a party to sport advice at all? In the article by David Warner at http://politicalblindspot.com/hamburger-chef-jamie-oliver-proves-mcdonalds-burgers-unfit-for-human-consumption/ the quote is: “After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise finally announced that it will change its recipe, and yet there was barely a peep about this in the mainstream, corporate media.” This can be proven with the Google search terms ‘Jamie Oliver on McDonalds‘. There is no guardian or other large newspapers and the one result link from Google mentioning the Telegraph states “Jamie Oliver praises McDonald’s – Telegraph“.

You might wonder how this is all connected. The answer is simple: ADVERTISEMENTS! (aka revenue)

There are issues on several levels and these companies have so much pull that through advertisements they have pull with what is written. Consider the fact that the large players (Guardian, Washington Post, LA Times) are not for, or against, they just don’t seem to appear in the first load of result pages at all (according to the Google search).

The issue I am raising is that this all seems to be no longer about the sport. If it was then those ‘big players’ would accept the elected choice and accept the unfortunate event of one year less advertisement revenue (yeah right!).

The next issue is actually entirely the opposite. I am disgusted on the horror Russians perform on the Russian Gay community. The fact that these people get tortured and murdered and the torturers take pride in publishing pictures of the event is utterly unacceptable. So I understand the fact that people speak out against this level of violence. Especially Stephen Fry made a clear case against the Russian Winter games. If you support this then give support him and follow him on Twitter (@stephenfry). I support him, but I am personally not in favour of banning or stopping the winter games. For me the view is that once we intertwine sports with political causes, no matter how just or correct they are, then the one door of change might close permanently. Yes, what happens in Russia is wrong, but if citizens who are going there as athletes can instil change where politicians fail, is that not a worthy cause? When I grew up I learned pretty much the origin of the Olympics as it was quoted on Wiki “It has been widely written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or truce.” Is that not how wars were resolved? In case we see America getting involved in this, let us not forget, that if one is gay and not living in San Francisco, often their rights are silently forgotten. The guardian had an excellent presentation of that at http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2012/may/08/gay-rights-united-states

They might not show the barbarism that Russia is currently presenting, yet the political lobby has been using gay rights as a racquetball between Democrats and Republicans for decades. I still feel that in the end, sport will be at the centre of unification. If we see and accept (at least I do) that the African American athletes were at the centre of the equalising force between racial differences, then sports could also be the equalising force for sexual differences.

I just hope that it will be sooner rather than later, because persecution has never ever been good for any soul. That applies for both the persecutor and the persecuted.

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