Widespread delirium surrounding the 30th Olympiad appears to have suddenly developed into an ubiquitous sense of misery amid the spectacular closing ceremony which brought an end to 7 years of anticipation. Returning to the abnormality of regular life following a unique fortnight, an Olympic-sized hangover has engrossed a nation, many of whom are downbeat at being unable to experience such an event again in their lifetimes. As London sadly disposes of the Olympic enigma briefly and heroic feats turn to nostalgic memories, glaring looks have darted towards the most uncleansed but much loved sport of football.
Amid the showing of great sportsmanship and unrivaled dedication, scathing criticism has poured down on the nation’s favourite sport as though the national team had instigated a war against young children and mothers! It appears that two weeks of pent up moaning has spilled over and eyed the world’s largest sport as the number one target. But why? Surely the encapsulating climax to last year’s Premier League reminded us of the overflowing joy of football alone.
Comparisons are obvious and football does have plenty of flaws against its rudimentary reputation yet the arguments spawned seem to be slightly slanted as the accusations attempt to align the worst of football with the best of the bygone Olympics, which is simply unfair. As an example the evident diving in football has felt scrutiny yet the proven drugs cheats who claim to be Olympians hardly warrants a mention. Lest we forget a certain Justin Gatlin abused drugs twice but still managed a bronze medal in the 100m.
However, the American’s past does not reflect upon the entirety of the participants at the Olympic Games. Neither does the Italian match-fixing scandal or the impaired balance of Arjen Robben brand every footballer a cheat. Both sports unfortunately carry those intent on playing dirty and that will presumptively endure forevermore.
Another aspect touched on was the extortionate wages some players earn which also seems quite misdirected. Perhaps the type of industry dictates the amount of money a proportion of players earn, especially as the revenue streams allow for such stratospheric payslips. Is that their fault? The actions resulting from the gigantic wages are but once again the criminality and promiscuity of footballers can be matched by Olympic athletes. A Belgian athlete was dismissed for a drunken party and a Korean had her medal stripped for political messages portrayed. Conversely much of the goodwill carried out by footballers seems to go unnoticed.
Additionally, questions have been asked of the attitudes of footballers and whether they try or not. John Terry is a candidate for hardest worker in the England squad contrary to his salary and court cases and it doesn’t matter whether it’s Premiership or Essex Senior League, players will do everything to win.
Contrary to my angle, I’m not attempting to prove that footballers are superior to athletes, neither am I trying tarnishing the heroes of London 2012 to cover my undying adoration for the sport I have been nurtured. What has been written about football recently has been lazy and delusional.
From what has been said and written it seems that football is the doormat to lie down and allow minority sports their moment to shine and take the slander that awaits. Despite the inclusion of football in the Olympics (which it frankly should not be as the importance of the World Cup renders the event meaningless and takes adulation from those who have trained ardently for four years) local interest diverted towards the rival events and they had their moments.
Football does not deserve the Olympic Games equally as much as football does not warrant the bitter comments directed its way. We seem to be forgetting the magical Premier League finale and Chelsea’s dogged efforts in the Champions League last year. Maybe watching Mo Farah win his two gold medals is reminiscent of what it felt like to witness Sergio Aguero’s strike against QPR last May as a Man City fan.
Only those who have complained recently do not show a likeness for the game. These are only generated by the emptiness felt having enjoyed the Olympic Games greatly and fuelled by the envy of watching Brazil soak up our previous anticipation and pride. Deserved or not, football is a great game and perhaps provides the only competition that can rival the Olympics.
Of those who have developed biased views against football recently should be reminded that the world’s greatest show was only brought to these shores with help from David Beckham, once a young boy from Leytonstone who progressed to become the most lucrative man in football. Yet he is a role model for both and earns millions of pounds a year. Along with the privately-schooled Seb Coe they helped bring the Olympics to London despite their different upbringings and incomes.
There may be no Olympic Charter for football but that doesn’t stop the occasional athlete from going against it. Cheating is more commonplace in football but in light of the recent Olympics it deserves better than to be downcast amid the shadow of a great event. After all, we can draw many similarities from the two sports and enjoy certain aspects of them contrastingly.