Saturday, 12 June 2010

The One That Will Not Be Enjoying It. . .

Ahh, it's started, the World Cup.

If you've come here expecting a diatribe about the insignificance of football, of how it is the opium for the masses and we should all spend our time doing nothing but reading Marx/Smith/Hayek, then you've come to the wrong place.

If you're expecting me to dismiss it by reducing it to the level of 22 men kicking a ball about a field, then I'll respond by saying Trafalgar was just a bunch of guys titting around in boats.

If you're expecting me to engage in some shocking snobbery about how it is culturally inferior to Rugby, then you're going to be disappointed. What is it about Rugby? The Union code in England especially? Why is it deemed acceptable (if technically outside the rules) to smack someone in the mouth, gouge their eyes, stamp on them or pick them up and drive them headfirst into the ground? Behaviour like that on the street would see you up in front of the magistrates. Just because after you've finished trying to purposefully injure someone, you put on a pair of chinos and buy them a pint of Flowers bloody IPA does not make it a decent way to behave.

I digress.

There's plenty wrong with football. There's plenty wrong with everything. But I am totally, hopelessly devoted to the sport, and the World Cup in particular. Yes FIFA is an odious organisation and Blatter, the President, deserves to be stood against a wall and peppered with free kicks from Koeman, Roberto Carlos and Charlton (R) for the rest of his days, but there you go.

Thing is, I can't enjoy the World Cup this year, and it isn't because of the Uwe Seeler horns.

I've been told I'm not allowed.

Firstly there's the sponsors:

FIFA has scored an "own goal" by agreeing sponsorship deals for the 2010 World Cup with companies that sell unhealthy products, campaigners say.

The World Cancer Research Fund criticised the governing body for partnering with the likes of Coca Cola, McDonald's and Budweiser.

It said the tournament should be an opportunity to promote active lifestyles.

Oh God, here we go. I wish Pfizer or Astra-Zeneca were sponsors, their blood pressure reduction drugs will surely come in handy if I read much more of this shit.

Promote active lifestyles? How could you do that? Oh, here's an idea, blanket coverage of young, fit sportsmen, all earning tens of thousands a week (barring the North Koreans) and the undying love of their public. Sounds like a pretty bloody good reason to be active to me. Play often, train well, and you could be like them.

The World Cancer Research fund can fuck off.

Still, at least the promoters of this poison aren't being held solely responsible. And we are being offered a sensible alternative:

It suggests fans "walk to the pub instead of taking the bus" or "use half-time for a brisk walk and some fresh air"

Nurse! The pills! The pills!

World Cup party hosts are urged to serve apples and grapes rather than crisps, while those grabbing a takeaway are warned to "choose a shish kebab with pitta bread and salad rather than a doner kebab".

In a section entitled "down the pub", fans are told: "Enjoying the match at your local pub can be great fun, but the snack and meal choices tend to be limited.

"Bar snacks are often high in salt and fat, particularly saturated fat. Give pork scratchings a miss and go for unsalted peanuts."

Anyhow even if we do ignore the evils of fast-food, fizzy drink and shite beer and engage in a spot of light aerobics, we're still not doing it right. Because if you're not sat on the sofa, there's only possible other thing you could be doing.

Police forces and hospitals across England are preparing to deal with an increase in binge drinking, domestic violence and street crime during the World Cup.

As the British exodus to South Africa reached a peak yesterday, a senior doctor warned that A&E wards in this country are expecting a 15 per cent rise in alcohol-related injuries during the tournament.

So, deal with them then, this is what they're paying their national insurance for.

Women’s Aid, a national domestic violence charity, have got several male celebrities to back their campaign. Nicola Harwin, chief executive of the charity, said: “Some police areas have found an increase in the reporting of incidents of domestic violence during big sporting events such as the World Cup, so now is a very relevant time to raise awareness. We hope that this campaign will reach out to both men and women to send out the clear message that domestic violence is never acceptable.”
Oh for crying out loud. Then charge them, then. And when they appear in court, send them to prison. Really, it shouldn't take a global event once every 4 years to make that obvious. Besides, how many of these wife-beaters are from under-privileged backgrounds who were let down the education system so therefore can't be blamed for their actions?

Or you could go and find someone from the FSA and give them a good shoeing, that's very nearly a public service.

The good old NHS brings it together nicely:

Dr John Heyworth said hospitals see an increase in domestic abuse, assaults, trips, falls down stairs and people crashing their cars.

It's no good, I've got to stop, I'm starting to get a nosebleed now.

Can you not just fuck off and leave us to enjoy the football in peace?

Actually, I say enjoy, but I think the good Dr. Heyworth may have a point, so dire was the fare on offer from France and Uruguay last night that I was tempted to go out in my car and drive at speed into a wall just to take the pain away.

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