International Football for me has become like the proverbial American ‘band-aid’ and it will be best for everyone if we just rip it off and put it in the bin. I don’t know what has happened to England, everyone seems to hate the national team, Fabio Capello, Wembley, the price of coca-cola! The list is endless.
So as Football Rascal takes a look at the future of international football, I ask would it be better if there wasn’t any? Should we scrap international matches altogether and tournaments like the World Cup? Perhaps it’s time to put it out of its misery.
I can see Jeffs point in his article from Monday, not a bad suggestion, but the bottom-line on all of this is that if international football is to continue, it has to change.
And I say scrap the lot, no international football.
No Friendlies or Qualifiers:
Friendly games have now become one of the most pointless parts of international football. All they do is get people’s backs up. Club managers get the hump as they always have some issue with the selection of certain players; either they do not think they are fit or they go and play and get injured. Club v Country row’s are most prevalent in regards to friendly games as club managers see them as a pointless exercise.
Also if there is an important game at club level after an international friendly break managers love to moan about this as well. Players are caught in the middle of this and pressure is put on them from both sides ‘to do the right thing’, but in life there will always be a winner and a loser and it is England they lose out to the majority of the time.
Players no longer take friendlies seriously anyway, the mindset is all wrong and they are more worried about getting injured and missing important club games. We have seen many England players take themselves out of selection for certain games and it won’t even play on their minds to miss a friendly.
Fans have to pay a lot of cash to go and watch England. Due to the vast amounts of money spent on Wembley, things there are expensive, programmes, food, drink, beer, parking – nothing is geared up for a fan in the middle of a recession. Also ticketing prices for England games are silly money, especially for friendlies.
No World Cup or European Championships:
Who cares if they are gone? The World Cup has slowly declined over the past decade for the real fan. Yes it has got bigger commercially with even more hype, more merchandise, every possible money making option being covered. But in reality is it now a quality football tournament or about how much FIFA and the host country can make from exploiting football?
We have ‘Mickey Mouse’ teams that make the group stages, devaluing the tournament and reducing the general standard of football being played. Countries that won’t even score a point during the group stages – some nations that don’t even deserve a point.
Staging World Cups is an expensive business, in reality it puts the host nation (which are mostly developing countries aren’t they Mr Blatter) into debt. The tax payers of the country have to fund stadium builds for a sport they may not even like. They will probably only win the bid in the first place because someone has bunged the powers that be at FIFA a brown envelope and then certain contractors etc will be used to make even more money.
Ok the European Championships are less hassle than a full World Cup as staged in countries that have the infrastructure already, but it is also a rubbish tournament of low quality football that even Greece managed to win. Who even remembers Euro championships nowadays? The hype is around the World Cup and if that goes, so does the Euro’s.
The media play their part in this, but how often do the press spin a positive on the England team? 10% of the time. It is all doom and gloom, releasing sex scandal stories in the run-up to major tournaments, getting on the players backs with probing questions, preferring to write content that sells paper’s rather than inspiring confidence.
The truth is international football, like so many other things, is dying. I grew up knowing a generation that fought for their country in a World War, a generation that knew what an honour it was to represent your country. But as time goes on and this generation slowly dies out, where has the patriotic allegiance gone?
The new breed of football fan has a much more localised allegiance, one that is club specific. Yes they will support their national team, but club is becoming everything. The commercial aspect of football is now in overdrive with kids being marketed to and every opportunity you can imagine available. It is not just the fans either, it is the players coming through that will lose this national pride, they are in a youth team with young players from all over the world, it is all about club not country.
So why play international football? Is it for entertainment? The answer is clearly no. Is it for the fans and patriotism – well there is an argument, but with international teams around the world recruiting non-nationals to play for them, the patriotism argument is dwindling. Is it to make vast amounts of money for governing bodies on an international and national basis? Yes.
Stop international football now before it loses all credibility.