Association football

Against Modern Fads

If you follow English football on Twitter, you’ll know how difficult it is to go thirty minutes without a disgruntled fan lambasting ‘modern football’.  In fact, the term ‘against modern football’ has become somewhat of an internet cliché. The phrase seems to encompass every thing from soft red cards to obscure mascots and is essentially a persistently minor protest against the modern adaptation of the world’s favourite sport.

A lot of the major criticisms of ‘modern football’ are the increasing expenditure of following a club, the almost identical new-style stadia and the lack of atmosphere they produce. It’s fair to say that these are all fair comments and something many football fans share a disliking of. Others bemoan the influence of broadcasting giants, BSkyB in determining untraditional kick-off times instead of the standard Saturday 3pm start. As silly and banal as some of these issues seem, they genuinely matter to many a football fan, even leading to the popularisation of flares at football matches in tune with Eastern European footballing traditions that are similar to English football’s in the 1970s and 80s.

Modern stadium… The home of Cardiff City

However, many don’t consider the ridiculousness of attacking the entire institution of modern football. Many seem oblivious to the fact that emulating football support from forty years ago is also a promotion of hooliganism and intolerance. Others forget that modern football is also superior as a game with huge advancements in facilities paying dividends in creating a more entertaining sport with fitter players.  A deluded sense of nostalgia seems to be the culprit in this absurd movement to disestablish everything football has evolved into.  On the other hand, naive ‘bandwagoning’ from the younger generations may be at fault. I for one would guess that most of the ‘AMF’ crowd are under the age of twenty. In fact, most older football fans I know love ‘modern football’.

In reality, ‘against modern football’ is nothing but an irritating catchphrase used by fans who choose to ignore the historic flaws of the game we love. Sure, we would all like cheaper match tickets, better atmosphere and maybe less characterless stadiums but ignoring that, there isn’t much wrong with the current game. In fact, modern football isn’t something to be opposed at all, it’s something to be embraced.

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Boycott Blatter’s Bulls**t?

No one is happy about this. This being FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 edition of the World Cup, football’s grandest international tournament in Qatar. And, it’s not football snobbery that’s the plaguing the internet forums. The most contentious issue without doubt with the decision is moving the beloved tournament to an untraditional winter commencement.

Simpleton… Blatter prays for an escape from this giant mess.

Let’s start with the good points about this arrangement. This shouldn’t take too long. FIFA claims that holding such a renowned event in a country less interested in football will spread word of football and help develop Qatar’s and the surrounding nations’ footballing abilities. And to be fair, that is a good point. In fact, if that was the only, genuine reason and there weren’t so many faults with the decision, I’d probably back Blatter and co.’s decision.

Unfortunately, the bid was also full of holes such as the ignorance of Qatar’s scorching hot summers that would make playing football in almost impossible. As a result, Blatter proposed a Winter World Cup which has angered football fans across the globe. Not only is his idea a breach of decades of tradition, it would also be a monumental disruption to the major domestic leagues around the world, something many a football fan tend to value more. There are too, no stadia fit for the World Cup currently in Qatar, meaning up to eight venues would have to be constructed within the next 9 years. On top of the logistical issues, there are huge social issues too. Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar meaning any gay man making the trip would be at risk of imprisonment and five years in prison. When Sepp Blatter was rightly criticised for allowing the event to be held there he simply told LGBT fans to keep a low profile. Not only is the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar, a painful inconvenience it is also dangerous to one cross-section of football fans. Maybe we shouldn’t be inviting an intolerant nation to embrace the ‘beautiful game’.

Money talks… Other nations offered better conditions.

It really does beg the question; what were the voters thinking? How on earth, given all of this information could this scorching, homophobic nation be a better choice than say the United States or Australia? Two countries that don’t endanger certain members of society through human rights violations. Two countries who could hold a competition in the northern hemisphere’s summer months without people evaporating. Two countries with expanding domestic leagues that would be hugely benefited by the promotion the World Cup brings.

It simply makes no sense to isolate the vast majority of football fans and domestic leagues to appease one tiny country not even remotely interested in football. Well, it doesn’t until you remember what a corrupt, selfish, money-grabbing scheme Sepp Blatter currently employs at FIFA HQ. Rumours spread that Russia had effectively bought their bid’s victory for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and given how feeble Qatar’s claim to the tournament is, you can safely assume money played a part here.

We continue to await the inevitable confirmation of the tournament’s move to Winter and eagerly we hope that the main footballing bodies elsewhere will stand up to Fifa and tell them where to shove it. Will they? I wouldn’t count on it.