Football: beautiful game or rotten to the core?

 
 
Dom discussed some of the issues surronding the latest controversy to engulf English football in yesterday’s blog. Here are some of your responses so far.
 

 

First of all let’s be clear that there’s no way it is a beautiful game. Whoever coined that phrase wants locking up. The reality is that it is a group of blokes kicking a ball about. Hardly an artform or something to attribute the word ‘beautiful’ to. In my younger days professional footballers earned about the same in a week as a typical labourer would. Although the game was extremely popular, they knew their real place in society. I remember Bobby Charlton appearing on Hughie Green’s ‘64,000 dollar question’ in the early days of ITV and telling the viewers that he earned £13 a week playing for Manchester United. If only the situation existed today where players were paid a few hundred a week instead of ‘per minute’, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for ‘bunging’, as the transfer fees would be relatively lowly and the game wouldn’t attract the wheeler dealers.
– Tony

Football remains a passion for those who are involved in any way, from players through to spectators. But the flip side of the image is it is also now a very big business, and for some an investment. Success on the pitch brings success commercially, and the prizes are getting bigger. So it must be tempting to bend a few rules to pull a successful team together and join the ‘life celeb’ group, which seems to be a major factor in decision making in today’s world, as opposed to moral or ethical interests. In reality it has probably always happened – it is just that the sums involved today may be considerably more than in earlier days, when even the top professional players had to hold down other jobs in order to follow their passion.
– Mark
We all get bent out of shape after a programme like ‘Bungarama’ and become self-righteous and innocent – ie hypocritical. In how many instances do we ourselves engage in ‘dealing’ to gain a better option for ourselves?
– John
 
The only thing that surprises me about this affair is that people are surprised that this goes on. Nobody gets hurt by all this financial skullduggery, so why not leave well alone and let them get on with it. They’ve got to earn a crust just like the rest of us…
– Alex
 
Football – the greatest overrated, unprofessional and overpaid game in the whole range of sports around the world. Few, if any of the participants ‘earn’ the grossly distorted sums of money they are given – it may be what they are paid for, but by no means do they ever ‘earn’ it. The present professional game is boring and appears to be a contest between 2 teams committing foul upon foul and hoping the referee won’t see them – what an appalling spectacle of yelling, screaming and shirt removal, and what a disgraceful example to the youth of today. Just look at the statistics relating to the number of footballers (they are hardly sportsmen in the true sense of the word) who appear on charges of one sort or another and whose behaviour is often excused because they have little ability other than to be able to kick a football. The ‘beautiful’ game is an utter insult to the word ‘beautiful’. The sooner it disappears from television screens, the sooner the game will return to being one of which any sportsmen will be proud. Of all the professional sports, the most ruined by money, fraud and scandals of various natures is football.
– Patrick
 
The programme on Tuesday limited the scope of its enquiries to the Premiership. Any action taken by Football’s ruling bodies should also include a rigorous investigation into similar activities which may have taken place in the lower divisions – reaching as far down as the Conference level.
– David
It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the FA to prove anything. So if the government want to clean up football, let them send in the Inland Revenue and the VAT people!
– Andy
When sums of 55K and more are paid weekly to players, it would be inconceivable to assume that no ‘crumbs fall from the rich man’s table’. The sport is awash with money and no amount of protesting will alter that fact. Unfortunately we all know that people in all walks of life will ‘help themselves to the stationery cupboard for a handful of envelopes’; in football all these envelopes are richly stuffed, and hoping that the FA or anyone else will eradicate the problem is trying to pin the tail on a flying pig!
– Yves
 
These types of allegations have been around for years, and whilst they are very serious for the people involved, I think the game is bigger than these things. Of course, if any of the allegations are true, they are very serious and things need sorting out, but a sense of perspective is important. Football is a very entertaining spectacle… I support Notts County and my only concern today is celebrating our win against Middlesborough yesterday! Three Premiership teams knocked out of the cup… that’s what football is really about. 
– Mike
 
I am not sure what people expect from football and why it should be held up as a shining example of honour. Every day there are stories in the press about corrupt politicians, and football has a far greater following in the country than politics, and so greater rewards for those who can manipulate the masses and the system. So why should allegations of sleaze surprise anyone?
Recently, top players have been shown to cheat by diving and feigning injury – I ask you, would these grown men drop to the floor in a crumpled heap if a small child bumped into them in Tesco? Probably not, as the shame of doing so in front of 20 shoppers would be too much, although seemingly in front of the cameras and five million fans it’s OK. Violence is always linked to football under the guise of patriotism, although true patriots would be as passionate about any sport where their country was involved rather than just one – perhaps it’s that it is just accepted now at football matches. People may think I am wrong in saying this, but then why waste taxpayers money sending UK riot police to train and advise those in Germany prior to and during the World Cup?
It seems to me that football has been going downhill for a while. It’s not the sport I enjoyed playing when I was younger – now it’s a non-contact spectacle played out by people who have more money than they can spend, where their only responsibility is to urinate in a jar when asked to, and some of them even forget to do that! When you are earning £40,000 a week, surely you could pay someone just to remind you – assuming of course that urine is all that would end up in the jar and not a mobile pharmacy. And still we read of nightclub brawls, WAGs on the front pages of the tabloids, dressing room spats, betting rings, match fixing and of course – bungs.
The only surprise is that it has taken so long for people to see just how far it has fallen.
– Alan
 
From an Australian point of view I see football as an inherently corrupt sport. The frequently poor refereeing decisions right up to the highest divisions (including the World Cup!), the failure to set up sorely needed video refereeing, the recent "bung" scandals – all go to demonstate that the game is rotten to the core. Other cultures might turn a blind eye to the corruption but the Australian sense of fair play won’t allow it. Until the game has cleaned up its act, removed the obnoxious tribalism among supporters that is rampant throughout Europe and Latin American competitions, and also done something to stop the plague of cynical simulation by players, we will take our support elsewhere.
– Martin
 
There is far too much money involved in football today for it not to be corrupted, which is to the detriment of all fans. If it keeps going the way it is, only corporate fans will be able to afford to go. It is now a major day-out for an average working man if he wants to take his family to a game.
– Dave
 

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