I don't dislike Gary Lineker. I'm old enough to remember him banging in the goals as England came close to actually getting somewhere in the 1990 World Cup, and I was impressed by the way he put the blocks in place for a broadcasting career while he was still playing.
Nowadays he's become somewhat of a parody of himself, and the 'hilarious' build up to him presenting Match of the Day in his underpants was a bit tiresome, but nevertheless when it comes to presenting a football programme, he knows what he's doing.
After the Rio Olympics, though, he's laid into an old argument, and I think he's wrong.
Lineker has been tweeting about the post Olympic football bashing that happens after the multi sport events, the Olympics in particular.
He says it's "dull sanctimonious bullsh*t".
I've indulged in the football bashing myself, and this time around was no exception. I posted that when you watch so many different sports during an Olympics, it drives home just how much of football is devoted to cheating - trying to con the officials, and moaning at officials to change their minds.
I called it 'odious.'
You simply don't see it in other sports. Now, am I saying that no other sport has attempts to cheat, or con the officials? No, of course not, but in most others sports, the official makes the call, one player or the team captain might argue, the official says the decision stands, and everyone moves on with the game.
Not so in football.
In football, the whole game is spent trying to fool the officials into thinking you have been fouled, moaning when you think the opposition has done the exact same thing and wasting as much time as possible when winning.
During the last 20 minutes of any game, the team winning will have players fall injured all over the pitch, at the slightest whiff of contact from an opponent. It invariably needs medical attention, taking up more time.
Any remaining substitutes will be used, with the player coming off taking as long as possible to walk off the field one step at a time, like a long jumper measuring out their run. That takes up more time.
The time added on at the end of the game never equals the amount of time wasted, so it works. Because it works, everyone does it. Unless of course they suddenly find themselves losing, in which case no players get injured, the goalkeeper rushes to get the ball for goal kicks, the subs race on and off the pitch.
This makes for a spectacle which is not a spectacle, but a tiresome farce that we all know is coming.
I called it odious, but since Gary Linker describes it as 'dull' to make the comparison between this pantomime of football and the fact we don't see it in other sports, I'm going to say that this last 20 minute routine of football is what's 'dull!'
Instead of simply calling the criticism dull, surely better to work out how to stop it in football, so it catches up with the other sports?
It's not rocket science either - firstly, you put microphones on the refs, audible to the millions watching rather than just a feed to the commentators. Then you introduce something which other sports have, that will make a *massive* improvement to football, and that's the ref's ability to stop the clock.
If there's an 'injury', or a substitution, the ref simply calls 'time off' as in other sports, so the clock is stopped. This instantly, and permanently, removes the problem of time wasting, because it simply won't waste any time any more!
You can also introduce video replays. It's clearly nonsense that the millions watching a game can see an official's error, or foul play, on the big screens inside the stadium, or on TV but the decision still stands.
Those improvements, and they certainly would be improvements, could be introduced right away. The fact that they won't be, is down to the biggest problem...
The biggest problem is not the football bashing, the biggest problem is not the solutions - no,the biggest problem is the organisation that can solve it all at a stroke, FIFA.
We'd need FIFA to introduce these improvements. That's not going to happen anytime soon.
The reason given by the previous FIFA president, that bastion of integrity and fair play Sepp Blatter, was that having the time clock stopped, or video replays, would ruin the spontaneous nature of the game, and would take too long.
In fact it would *speed up* the game, because we'd do away with the ludicrous time wasting, and the yawn inducing moaning at refs. By the way, has a ref ever changed their mind because players moaned at them?
So Gary, dear Gary, yes you might think it dull to hear yet again that people find that watching other sports shows up how obnoxious the cheating and time wasting is in football, but the reason it's said every time, is because it's still just as true now as it was the last time, and as it will be the next time too.
People shouldn't find it refreshing to see other sports without the nonsense, that's the way it's supposed to be! I'd suggest that it's football's stick-in-the-mud attitude that's 'dull', with some 'sanctimonious' thrown in for good measure, particularly coming from ex top drawer players still riding the gravy train, and I'm not talking gravy flavoured crisps either.
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