• Can Football Harness the Olympic Spirit?

    A player is rolling around pretending he is injured. Annoyed a defender spits at him whilst he is on the floor. Two minutes later he tries to break the guys leg.

    On the bench the manager is arguing with the fourth official because of the earlier non-existent foul two minutes earlier. He kicks the water bottles and shouts at his opposite number. The other boss weighs in because of the defenders attempt to get the attackers leg.

    Suddenly the defender gets his prey and the star striker has knee ligament damage. All hell then breaks loose and a brawl ensues on the pitch, the managers join in and the crowd start to throw things from the stands.

    Olympic spirit

    An incident like this could well happen at some point this season. Famously Roy Keane admitted in his autobiography that he wanted to deliberately break Alf-Inge Haalandֳ leg because the Norwegian had accused him of feigning injury.

    Haalandֳ career was ended by the incident and he still suffers from knee pain to this day. As he correctly observed, Ӕhe worst thing about what he did and what he wrote in his book is the example that it set young kids who follow big name players like him.Ԝn
    The Olympics motivation was to inspire a generation and any children watching Team GB and the athletes from around the world could not fail to have been inspired by the positive role models they saw at the games.

    Footballers have to learn that when they surround the referee, roll around on the floor to get an opponent booked, dive in the box and employ all the other forms of gamesmanship they use they devalue themselves and their sport.

    Football spirit

    There are footballers though who are good professionals and try to play the game in the right spirit. It is just unfortunate that the cheats get greater prominence and bring down the sport.

    Part of the problem is that there is so much money involved at the top that teams have to win at any cost. If a team gets relegated from the Premier League it can cost millions. Former Premier League and FA Cup winners Portsmouth are close to liquidation.

    Soccer is no longer a sport and is now seen to be an off shoot of the entertainment industry. In this world there is no such thing as bad publicity so long as they make the front page. All that seems to concern the hierarchy is that football keeps its profile high.

    Post Olympics they may be in for a rude awakening and the public may turn its back on the game. A sticking plaster will not cover up for the lack of sportsmanship in the game and they need a full blown first aid kit to bring football up to Olympic standards.

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