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There’s No Business Like Show Business

January 12th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Following a lengthy debate with a good friend of mine over at Gibfootballshow about whether the automatic red card given to goalkeeper’s who foul an opposition player when acting as last man was fair it occurred to me that many people today don’t see football as being about fair and sporting play, but as a form of show business – an entertainment rather than an athletic competition.

Many people would argue that football, and sport in the wider sense, is about entertainment and I probably wouldn’t disagree. Top level sport needs public support to survive and continue to attract the very best athletes rather than watch them drift off into other careers. However, I don’t think that sport, and football in particular, should forget that whilst it has a need to be entertaining it is not in the business of show business. The rules and regulations of the games need to reflect the foundations on which sport was built – fairplay, sporting behaviour and honest competition.

I am not naive enough to think that sport is only about the ideal. Many sports created as a way of preparing for battle and honing fighting skills. Others were created as a means of control and to keep people’s minds off whatever the problem of the day was – indeed, this is still the case in less developed countries. However, the emergence of sport as being an embodiment of chivalry and honour stems from these very beginnings.

I believe that the rules of sport need to change with the times. They need to reflect the needs of participants, officials, spectators and other interested parties. They also need to change to accomodate advances in technologyand science, including medicine. However, the underlying spirit and traditions of the games need to be maintained and preserved.

This spirit is one of fairness, where any body can take part in the sport and know they have the same opportunity to succeed in any situation. Of course skill and physical ability have an impact on this. I know that technically I cannot compete with top class sportsmen and women in any field, but I know that if I were to challenge Ronnie O’Sullivan to a game of snooker, or my village team took on Manchester United at football, the only difference between us would be our relative skills and abilities.

Changing rules to differentiate between one player and another, between one group of participants and another is something that goes against this philosophy of openness and fair play.

  1. January 12th, 2011 at 14:05 | #1

    Great post here Normy, You’re strong opions on this topic really reflect well in this piece. Looking forward to seeing your big announcement take place.

  2. January 12th, 2011 at 14:21 | #2

    The switch from sports becoming an entertainment business especially football seems to have come from the increase in TV coverage.
    Back in the pre-SKY days you would generally only watch your own side and your only thought was that your team must win, regardless of fair play and harsh decisions. When I watch Celtic entertainment is not my priority….winning is, so by any means necessary I want that to happen.

    When I watch Barcelona v Espanyol/Valencia/Real Madrid etc I have no preference for what side wins, I just want to see an entertaining game and I am watching it to be entertained. So anything that stops that game being a entertaining spectacle in my brain at that time would be a bad thing.

    So you can blame TV.

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