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“Roma has risen from its ruins. Manolas the Greek God in Rome”
“AGUEROOO!!!! I swear you will never see anything like this ever again”
“It’s eleven! It’s heaven for Jamie Vardy”
Pure emotion, these moments are pure emotion which makes us football fans love this sport and the only people who love this sport more than us are the artists playing it. Week in, week out we see these men and women practice magic on the pitch, many a times in a strange country away from their friends and family. All because they love this sport and to make the people who have placed their hopes in them proud. So it is the duty of the people in charge of the sport to take care of these players and put the players’ health over their greed.
The football elites don’t care about the players who are making them the money they use to buy their big offices and classy suits and make decisions of these players’ future. Taking the example of Pedri, the 18 year old played his first full season in the top flight with FC Barcelona last season. After a tiring season with his club he is right now with his national team at the Euros and about to play the semi finals.
After which the young lad should have gotten a much deserved rest, after his sensational breakthrough season. But he will not be getting it as on 23rd July he will fly to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Many have raised concerns about his health but Spanish Olympic team coach Luis de la Fuente seems adamant. It’s fair to want the best players to be playing in the team but by the end of the season Pedri seemed completely burnt out and he will be again if Spain reaches the final. Within 12 days he will have to fly to the other side of the world to play another vigorous run of matches potentially starting several of them and then fly back just in time for the new season with FC Barcelona. Football requires a level of fitness and commitment but this run of playtime without proper rest seems brutal for a teenager.
The more sensitive example however, is perhaps the decision taken by UEFA regarding Denmark’s game against Finland. Christian Eriksen suffered from a medical emergency and it would be an understatement to say that every person watching it happen whether at home or in the stadium was very shaken up. Thus postponing the match, allowing the players especially the Danish National Team recuperate themselves from that shock would have been a wise choice. But UEFA gave the players 3 choices to either play immediately, play the following day or to forfeit the match and lose 3-0. UEFA defended themselves by saying that postponing the match would affect Finland’s calendar and schedule. But one might assume that they would have complied with the changes or more so, UEFA could have maybe made some extraordinary changes to the entire schedule given the extraordinary circumstances.
Apart from these, the Nations League and shifting the venues of competitions to countries on the other side of the world like the USA for monetary gain are clearly decisions taken through greed without considering the repercussions on the players. Another great example is the new Champions League format which will significantly increase the number of games played by each team. Blinded by greed they don’t see that the valiant heroes who are already playing 40-50 games a season are only human and are limited by physical capabilities. More games means more playing time and exertion, it also means more travel which is an exertion in itself. Influential people like Pep Guardiola and Jurgenn Klopp have openly spoken up against the new UCL format.
FIFA which is the pinnacle of the world football hierarchy is perhaps the worst of the lot. From the outside it may seem like that hosting a FIFA World Cup is not only a great honor but also a great financial investment as tourism must boom. But that is however not the case, in a country like Qatar where the football infrastructure is not big enough to host a World Cup, stadiums and other amenities need to be built. These pay a great return only during the World Cup, they command a high initial price of construction and after the World Cup a high maintenance cost with not much return.
In countries like Brazil, though the craze of football is high, the money is not. Apart from that, there are not enough people to fill the huge stadiums built for the World Cup. Not many teams have enough money to buy and maintain these stadiums year long. The most expensive of the lot, Mane Garrincha Stadium which was rebuilt for $550 million is being used as a bus depot. Since the 2014 World Cup, it has been used only in 2 major tournaments and a handful of concerts. And in Qatar, 6 new stadiums are being built. These again will not be used as much after the World Cup but it is not just the aftermath of the World Cup but also the cost people are incurring even before the World Cup begins.
Since Qatar won the rights to host the World cup in 2010, there have been 6,500 migrant worker deaths reported. That is equivalent to 12 deaths a week, a harrowing figure. The conditions of the migrant workers are also in an abysmal state, which has forced players like Toni Kroos to speak up against their treatment.