Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that aren't so great about football (soccer)

Ok, being the responsible blogger that I am (sort of) I'd like to like at both sides of the English football coin.
Last week I presented a the case (with great pictures) of why football is so great. And it is great, I stick by that, but there are some things that are not so great, and in some cases down right bad. So here are the negatives.
And I'm not going with the common American misconception that soccer sucks because it is low scoring. 1-0 games and 0-0 games can be great, much more exciting than a 12-1 baseball game or a 122-85 basketball game fo sho.

1. Violence/Racism - I think sometimes in the US we are shielded from how bad racism is in the rest of the developed world. Things that happen there are simply not acceptable here. It happens occasionally in England, but is common in Western and Eastern Europe. Just a few years ago when England was playing in Spain, Spanish fans made monkey noises toward black English players. WOW! In Italy, Roman club Lazio are known to be racist. Players sometimes Hail Hitler salute the crowd. Wow. If this happen here, someone would get their ass beat. There are instances of black players having bananas thrown at them. WOW! And don't get me started on Eastern Europe. It is much worse there. Some teams are not allowed to host games because fans are so racist. Man.

The violence part is a bit more mixed. Some Hooliganism is cool and funny. It's ok when hooligans fight each other, but then instant people get hurt, that is crossing the line. Hooliganism can be part of the game, but sometimes people die, and that is obviously over the line. But sometimes it can be funny, like recently when Milwall fans kicked their seats off to throw at the opposing fans. Nice.

2. No salary cap - For all the parody that the tiered league system creates, there is a definitely unbalance of power. There are a few elite teams in Europe and other simply cannot compete with them in terms of money. In England there are a "big four" who are the biggest club and have the most money. Only once in the past 5 years has a team other than them finished in the top 4. And as the "big 4" win more and more and get better and better players, the gap gets larger and larger. It simply isn't fair. They are able to buy the best players from smaller clubs and the smaller clubs have to do it so they can survive. It is a brutal cycle. And this is not unique to England, it occurs in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Holland. The big teams are allows good because they have the most money. It is like having 20 Yankees in Europe

3. Diving - Ok, Diving sucks. It is part of the game. Worse is pretending to be injured. I hate that. I'm not sure what really can be done about it. Maybe if you come off the field "injured" you have to stay off for five minutes.

4. Not strong domestically - MLS baby! It kind of blows. Our best players are young Americans who will soon go to Europe and washed up foreigners. It is unfortunate that the league is not strong.
Indoor soccer is a joke. All of it is too youth oriented.
But the MLS is making the national team stronger.

And lastly one that is both great and horrible.....

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