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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Thursday, 29 June 2006
What puts Americans off football?
Topic: Misc.
Why doesn't football interest Americans? Many reasons have been suggested, chiefly that it's low scoring, has a lot of draws and doesn't allow for commerical TV interruptions. But could there be something more? The Weekly Standard, a conservative US publication, has an article suggesting that it's the sight of players pretending to be injured in order to manipulate the referee that will ensure that the game never takes off in the the US:

"Turn on a World Cup game, and within 15 minutes you'll see a grown man fall to the ground, clutch his leg and writhe in agony after being tapped on the shoulder by an opposing player. Soccer players do this routinely in an attempt to get the referees to call foul. If the ref doesn't immediately bite, the player gets up and moves along. Making a show of your physical vulnerability runs counter to every impulse in American sports. And pretending to be hurt simply compounds the outrage."

See http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/360zlcro.asp

I wasn't convinced by this thesis when I read it several days ago and I'm still not totally sold on it today. But the sight of Thierry Henry clutching his face as he dropped to the ground, despite not being touched anywhere near it, did sicken me and made me wonder whether the writer has a point. I can imagine US viewers shaking their head in disbelief that this goes on in a professional game's World Championship.

Is there not a mechanism by which players who've clearly dived and faked injury can be penalised after the game when the video evidence clearly indicates what they've done?

_ DY at 6:01 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006 6:58 PM BST
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Wednesday, 5 July 2006 - 8:53 PM BST

Name: "Andy Ward"

You might be surprised how much interest there is from the younger generation.  A lot of kids (boys and girls) play the game and those who did who are now in their twenties have a good appreciation of it.  I've had quite a few conversations here with people who have been following the World Cup.

The simulation is probably one reason why the older generation doesn't like it but a more interesting question might be why don't Americans go for team sports in general that other countries play.  I wonder if they simply find it difficult to accept that the US can lose fair and square to countries like Ghana and Iran (hehe).  In fact there's no shame in losing to Ghana who have some good players, but it looks bad when Joe Sixpack reads in USA Today that the US have been knocked out by Ghana.  Maybe they'd rather think that it's not a real sport than accept that smaller countries are better at it.

Andy. 

Friday, 7 July 2006 - 2:32 AM BST

Name: "David Young"

It's a catch 22 situation though. America would win at football if the cream of its athletes play the game. But there is far more money in basketball, baseball, US football etc, so that doesn't happen. This leads to a poorer international showing.

I think the diving has been a big issue at this year's World Cup. France, Portugal and Italy are all guilty of it. Something has to change. 

 

DY

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