Football is being murdered in front of our own eyes.

By Walter Broeckx

If we look at the last finals from international tournaments from Uefa or Fifa (or similar organisations) we get this as the final scores of the matches after 90 minutes:

  • WC 2010: Spain – Holland 0-0
  • EC 2012: Spain – Italy 4-0
  • WC 2014: Germany – Argentina 0-0
  • EC 2016: France – Portugal 0-0

Or let us take the Copa America

  • CA 2011 : Uruguay – Paraguay 3-0
  • Ca 2015: Chile – Argentina 0-0
  • CA 2016 Chile – Argentina 0-0

So I have taken 8 matches from the last 6 years that should have been the highlights of football in those years. And what did we get?

6 of those finals were excellent when you need something to fall asleep. Six finals in which after 90 minutes the score was a dreadful 0-0. That is 75% of the finals ending up in a boring contest.

The media talk it up  before the match as THE EVENT of the year, century (depending on how far they will go) but in the end… all people get is a match that makes you fall asleep or after 90 minutes you wonder: how on earth did I wasted 90 minutes of my life on this.

Now of course I didn’t watch the most recent final between France and Portugal. I left international football behind me ever since I started digging a bit deeper into what sort of organisations Fifa and Uefa are. With all the corruption that has been found I really want them to be gone.  No, I don’t want new leaders as the new leaders are doing just the same as the old did but with another name.

So when I had the choice of having a BBQ with the family in honour of my daughter finishing her education to become a teacher or the final of the European championship I didn’t hesitated for one moment and got my BBQ going.

But as I am not alone in this world I do care a bit about all those people who still love football even when organised by crooked organisations.

So I do wonder how they feel each time they sit in front of their TV full of hope of seeing the best match ever between the best teams ever and then … to fall asleep (if they have been lucky) or have to sit through the entire 90 minutes of utter boredom. Hell I think that seeing the charcoal quench away in my BBQ was far more interesting than most of the matches of the century from the last 8 big finals.

The problem is that football is killed by those who have something to say about it: the managers.

The winning at all costs approach that they have been preaching has spread around and has caused football to become a boring sport. Or should I say: the “not losing at all costs” approach?  Which is rather stupid in a final as you know before you start one will win and one will finish in second place at the ultimate final whistle even with penalties.

So one will lose anyhow, so why don’t they make it a spectacle? Why don’t both teams go for it from the start? Only one team will win it in the end.

But how can we get around finishing up with boring finals? How can we make sure that the teams (both of them) will try to score goals. As that is still (I know I am a bit naïve in such things) what football is all about: to score more goals than the other team.  Call me naïve but in my world you would enjoy finals. In the world of the Mourinho’s, Conte’s, Simeone’s finals are boring because they just reduce the possible spectacle to a boring contest.

So the only solution I see to beat the boring coaches/managers is to get rid of the 0-0 score.  There should be a rule that if a final of a tournament ends up with a 0-0 score after 90 minutes…. There will be no winner and both teams will be send home with nothing. And the big shining cup will go back to the organising committee and can be given in the next tournament. Now that would save them some money also….

If we would bring in that rule the managers who set up their team to get a boring 0-0 and then sneak to a win on penalties would be out of a job. Just imagine no WC winner in 2010 and 2014. Surely that would result in FIFA putting an enormous amount of pressure on managers to give the public something that is worth watching?

Imagine both teams stepping on the field in the knowledge that neither of them would get anything from this final if they don’t produce goals. Because like it or not goals are the icing on the cake of football. And the more boring finals we get, the less attractive football will become.

If you want an example: take me. For many years I almost watched every football match in every tournament. Now I can’t even be bothered to watch them. (I only saw the last 7 minutes of the final and extra time as my guests had all gone and I had finished up cleaning a bit). Why should I lose my time watching two teams showing they can defend?

Football should be based on goals. Not on defending. I know I am a dream and naïve. But wouldn’t it have been much more fun if the matches I had mentioned finished at 2-2 in the 90 minutes, hell even a 3-3 after extra time and then as the real icing on the cake a penalty shoot out….  Or do you really prefer the 120 minutes of 0-0 boredom before a first penalty is kicked?

I know what I would choose. But alas… I don’t think they will ever install such a rule that in case of a goalless draw both teams are sent home with nothing. Why? Well simply because the administrators of football don’t give a damn about football. Only the naïve people and dreamers like me still care about football and about the entertainment it should bring to the masses of football fans.

Football should be fun, but nowadays football is being murdered in front of our own eyes. And as long as our team wins… we don’t care. But we have the duty to think about the best of interest of football as a spectacle for the fans, all the fans worldwide.

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31 Replies to “Football is being murdered in front of our own eyes.”

  1. Congratulations Walter on your daughter’s graduation. Is the degree related to Masters of Education? Because from what I have heard the M.Ed Degree is nowadays considered ideal for people going in to the profession of teaching. But don’t take my word too seriously 🙂 I am still working up my experience to start my masters probably in the next two years.

    After this Euros, international football is now permanently on my “things I don’t like list”

    P.S my computers harddisk, memory and processor crashed and stopped working permanently, so I am in the midst of a computer shifting process. That’s the only reason why I haven’t been able to contribute in the last month or so.

  2. Tony,

    I totally agree

    Football should look at what was done in basketball and rugby
    After a certain number of fouls against one team, you get a freetrow after each foul. Imagine a penalty after 5 fouls from a team, this for each foul after the fifth….

    They invented the 3 point basket. Why not the same ?

    This would offer goals galore.

    And yes, no points in case of a tie may be a good idea as well. nil-nil equals nil.

    In rugby players may be sent off for a few minutes. like in ice hockey.

    And talking of refereing, I was surprised at how little ‘re-mobbing’ we witnessed at the euros. How come it does not happen there and is a ‘normal’ behaviour in the PL ?

  3. Defending is part of football. Instead of complaining, perhaps you should start appreciating coaches and players that are gifted at defending. Good football without winning/trophies is useless, ask Messi and Argentina.

  4. Walter

    As mentioned many moons ago, I think all football should be changed to not reward the 0-0 scoreline. Teams need to score in order to get points.

    But your idea has merit with respect to tournaments.


    Power spike? No surge protector or UPS?

  5. The mascot in the team photo was Evie Mackie who is nine. Sorry for omitting it in the main article.

  6. Whilst defending is indeed a part of the game, without goals you cannot win. You need both.

    Having said that, I am sure there are other rule changes that will help guarantee a result:
    no more penalty shootouts. The game simply keeps going, changing ends every 15 minutes until one team has a lead at an interval.
    remove the goalkeepers if its 0-0 at half time, remove the defense if its 0-0 at 70 minutes.
    have the penalty shootout first. The team that loses will be very motivated to win the match before the 90 mins are done.
    have two footballs on the pitch at once. It will be much harder to control the result. (And give the ref nightmares…)
    randomly select a player from each team to send off for 10 minutes in the middle of each half.
    make the goal a little higher & wider.
    keep track of how long each team has the ball, if they dont get a shot on goal within a time limit, then the other team gets possession instead.
    if a player gets a yellow card they are sin-binned for five minutes.

    Whether you would think it was the same game afterwords is another matter of course.

  7. Gord,

    It was more of the hardware just giving up. I have been using this PC since 7 years I think, so given that some hardware parts have an average life expectancy of 4 years I think I just used it too much 😀

    Well I now switching to a SSD instead of a standard HDD given all the trouble this harddisk has given me and with the SSDs price dropping I think this is a good time to buy. And changing to high quality RAM bars instead of something cheap.

  8. I agree with you Walter – none of the games I saw live was worth the effort . It was a shite tournament , with a lot of shite teams . They only fun I had was seeing the so called top-top teams getting rammed by the minnows .

    I never watched the pre game crap nor the halftime and full time analysis . I too watched the game – why would I need some prick describe the game with some more shite comments and observations .

    And watching it at 3 Am in the morning was really not worth it . After almost 20 years , today , I have called time on my cable operator’s sport channels . I’m not sure if others will be quitting too , as their charges are to go up .

    So thank you , Steve McMohan , Paul Parker and the rest of the clowns on ASTRO Sports. Hope you have other ( or day )jobs to move on to !

  9. Great article Walter! Many thanks. My experience is the same as yours. When I was young I saw every match, now I do not watch any. I remember in the 1970s and 1980s I used to be so excited about watching Brazil play. Now I never watch them play. So sad, how this wonderful sport has been ruined.

  10. XX, enjoy the boredom. 😉 Not me.
    And the two collegues who always watch, both had turned off their TV halfway the second half. It was their complaining that made me wrote this article

  11. @ Brickfileds. The game and others were not worth watching at 10pm. As for watching at 3am. All I can say is that you must have lots and lots of patience

  12. Walter,
    Yes, you are naïve….as naïve as we who can remember the beautiful game before it was murdered, first by the gradual chicanery of big business and then by the corruption through FIFA, UEFA, the FA, the PGMOL and all the petty officialdom et al which is now world-wide.
    And sadly,the skill of entertainment has now been permanently replaced by a “don’t concede a goal” mentality which was clearly demonstrated in the Euros by ALL participants, where the penalty shoot-out became more of a likely norm as each match neared its conclusion.
    Something must be done to extend the excitement which football, at club level, can produce much more easily most weekends.
    The quite obscene escalation of players’ wages and transfer fees in recent times has resulted in increased ticket prices, all of which simply cannot continue unabated. One day this bubble will burst and sanity will be restored.

  13. One of the best finals I’ve witnessed in recent times was Arsenal vs Hull City in the FA Cup 2013-14, a cagey affair, one that really showed the magic of the cup. I’m sure you all remember it, so I won’t bother describing why I loved it.

    There are only a few managers in the modern game who always send their teams out to play. We’re lucky to have one of the best of those at Arsenal in Arsene Wenger. But just because he tries to maintain some of what makes football enjoyable in the money controlled premier league, the media label him as an idiot while Mou and Big Sam are labelled as geniuses.

    Pep Guardiola is cut from the same cloth as Arsene Wenger. I wonder how the media will treat him.

  14. @ colario – July 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm – It was not patience – it was the wine and past episodes of Game of Thrones , that kept me up !

    As for the real hard core fans of internationals – the parking of buses may be considered an especial art form ! And watching paint dry ! Or snails screwing ? Or observing ‘them’ think ?

  15. The simplest solution I see to 0-0 score-lines is making the goals bigger. I’m guessing the average International/Premier league goalkeeper is at least 5 inches taller than when the rules of the game were laid down over 100 years ago. So the chances of a shot beating the goalkeeper must be significantly reduced. You could add to this the advantage at corners a tall goalkeeper has (albeit outfield players may be taller than 100 years ago too.)

    If the goals were say 5 inches higher and 8 inches wider, there would be two immediate impacts. Shots that currently hit woodwork would be goals, and there would be an increase in the number of attempts on goal, particularly from distance. There would also be a higher conversion rate from penalties and direct free kicks. (And the Portugal-France game would not have been 0-0 after 90 minutes.)

  16. Luscious Lisa
    July 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Yes, I have often thought the time had come to enlarge the goal.

    With basketball there is the need to raise the position of the basket. As players are much taller than when the height of the basket was decided,

  17. Brickfields Gunners
    July 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    You must have lots and lots of patients.

  18. And, as has been mentioned…if you are going to have a tournament with all that entails, don’t invite everybody and their dog. We all knew that increasing the Euros to 24 would involve making it easier to qualify for the knockout round than not. And, once you are in the knockout stages a defensive strategy might do the trick as it did this year. But, money prevails and the next thing we know the World Cup and the Euros are going to have 64 participants and it will run for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, many dire teams will qualify and advance to the knockout stages.

  19. The solution is so simple. Teams that do not register at least 3 shots on goal each half forfeit all payment. Teams that score get a percentage of the opponents money. That will soon get the bastards playing football. Each foul will draw a 5% donation to charity from the teams money.

  20. Changing the goalposts and crossbar is not an ideal solution but could help. However, If the teams’ % of possession, shots on goal accuracy,corners and accuracy of free kicks within the opponent’s 1/3 of the field 30 yards out and in at the goal counted for on a scale of 1-10, maybe the teams would work harder to play attacking Football?

    As an example, France vs Portugal: France had more possession, more shots on goal,more corners and more free kicks close to their opponent’s goal and on a scale of 1-10, I would have given them a 7, whereas Portugal deserved a 6. If those points counted in a 0-0 tie, then maybe France would have been the winners. The idea is to motivate the teams to play more attacking Football so we can avoid 0-0 ties in the future.I know Portugal won it by scoring and so deserved their title but the game was sooooo boring!

  21. @ colario -July 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm – After having served in the same sleepy hamlet for over 25 years , I do believe I have quite a few loyal and steadfast patients. I’m now treating the 3rd generation of the families !

    That they have welcomed me in their midst , and supported me , despite me being of a different race and religion , says much about their loyalty and kindness. And I like to think that I too have in some measure repaied them back in kind.

    If Arsenal and AW ever get that kind of loyal support , we could move mountains !

    Sighs !

  22. @ Brickfields Gunners
    July 13, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Yes. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I can’t resist puns. Thus patience and patients.

    On my face book page someone put some photos of their holiday in Venice.

    As they were on another social media list I wrote to them and asked:

    ‘Did you go to Nice for your holiday?’

    As expected they replied:

    ‘No. Venice.’

    To which I was able to reply:

    ‘Oh nice.’

  23. @XX,

    Well, defending is an art. Rightly said. Wonder what opinion you have about Per Mertesacker.

  24. @ ARSENAL 13
    July 13, 2016 at 7:20 am

    “Well, defending is an art. Rightly said. Wonder what opinion you have about Per Mertesacker.”

    If opinion is your preference then I can’t help you.

    Here is a link to facts about Per.

    Note has played 104 times for Germany.

    Note has a World cup winners medal.

    Is there a present playing English full back player with a World Cup winners medal?

  25. Omg
    I said something very similar to what you suggested; in boxing if there’s no knockout then the fight is decided on points. They could say if it’s goalless after 90 minutes the team with more % possession wins it. Including free kicks might lead to more diving as teams look to accumulate these, but you can hardly cheat on possession, especially if they add the element of territory as per your suggestion. You’ll be guaranteed to watch a cracking match.

    I made the mistake of watching two matches involving Portugal; the final and the one v Croatia,and I can’t recall any other team that were undeserving of a cup like them. Played for penalties in both and did a smash and grab job with a few minutes remaining in both. Terrible. Euro 16 is easily the worst tournament I’ve ever watched.

  26. @colario,

    To make myself clear.

    I rate Per Mertesacker very highly. I think he is the best there is.

    People praise all the managers and teams for being defense first, and then look at Mertesacker and say hez no good!!!…

  27. how can you tell it was boring if you didn’t even see it?
    zero points for 0-0 is probably a good idea, but it won’t help in the knock-out tournaments
    and fifa putting pressure on managers certainly does sound ominous
    getting rid of extra time and going straight to penalties is probably a good idea though

  28. Walter

    I felt the old impulse to write something on a similar theme about the tournament.

    Wrote too much, as I always do, and so can’t see myself submitting it to the site, but I’ll copy and paste a bit of it here.


    Anyway, you should still get quite an enjoyable game if…neither team is committed to ultra defensive football. Defensive football is mostly thought of as having large numbers of players back in your own half, especially around your penalty box, typically with particular emphasis on defending central areas. Correctly so.

    However, there is another tell-tale sign at the other end of the pitch: the sight of two or three players getting into a good offensive position, before calculating…’no, might just leave us vulnerable’. They might well be correct. In fact, they probably are correct in nearly all cases that to attack at that moment would leave them potentially vulnerable- not, perhaps, to a huge extent, merely more (fractionally) than if they were to restrain the attacking impulse- if the move breaks down. You see that happen and you know a team are truly primed for caution. You see that happen and chances are you are watching a game which is a fairly or very poor spectacle.

    I think it is best described as parasite football. Taken to its logical limits, if everyone played like that, the games popularity would quickly wane; if everyone had always played like that, the game would never have been christened the beautiful game and would never have become so popular.

    And so, coaches and teams who adopt these tactics take advantage of the fact not everyone plays that way. They know there is an acceptance of that style of play and that the point at which the audience would turn against it is suspended off somewhere in the distance, only to be reached if, over a long period of time, every team or ,rather, too many teams, played that way. Teams who play that way very often do so in the knowledge that there are still enough, perhaps just enough, teams playing a different way in order to keep the football-watching audience happy enough, overall, with the spectacle.

    So poor games don’t tend to be a consequence of one or both sides not wanting to play attacking football, they come when one or-the horror- both sides want to play very defensively. Even if this is deemed perfectly acceptable, or veritably good, the sensible ,fair way to view the resulting game would be through the lens of one side being challenged with the often tough task of breaking through a defensive wall. The related opinion of whether the game is a good or poor spectacle should likewise be viewed in this way, with the main responsibility for the nature of the game residing with the team who have opted to play ultra-defensively. Alas, there is a near total failure to do this.

    Everyone will agree, if only indirectly, that football absolutely needs some teams to take the initiative; that in the large scheme we need some players and teams who look to be positive on the ball, to create, to cherish possession and commit players to attacks,etc; and yet, the consensus is that no individual teams bear any responsibility for playing the game in a positive fashion. What’s more, winning ends all arguments, in the popular view, overwhelmingly.

    This is a perfect recipe for negative football.

    As a thought experiment, imagine a knockout tournament where every team sits down as soon as the whistle goes, and stays down until extra time is over and penalties begin. Eventually, one team would emerge as the winner of the tournament. Are they the best team? Would anyone watch?

    In essence, there really isn’t that much difference between that and what you would get if two ultra-defensive teams faced each other and both refuse to attack.

    It’s rarely quite as bad as that, but just one ultra-defensive team is normally enough to produce a poor game, and all it takes is the other side to err for caution,too, particularly if they really don’t fancy the prospect of being the suckers who push and push and are left open to a rare counter , and you have a great chance of a stinker of a game.

  29. I was so disappointed to see the defensively minded teams winning through in general.

    I think one of the main changes to consider would be a lengthy (1/2hour) sin bin offence for the so called professional foul that is a cynical foul with no attempt to play the ball.

    The likes of Murphy in his commentary always praises this type of foul (taken one for the team) and was carried out constantly by the defensively set up teams in this tournament.

    This is cheating in my opinion and the yellow card which is sometimes given is an insufficient penalty.

    I’m sure this would lead to a lot more goals as the cynical foul frequently stops an exciting breakaway.

    We of course see this all the time at the Arsenal (we of course do it as well but a lot less frequently than the opposition according to Untold”s stats) which along with rotational fouling needs to be addressed if we want to see a more vibrant and entertaining game.

    For those aficionado’s of the defensive game I do not think this is skilful defending. I admire good defending but skilful defending should not include cynical fouls nor shirt pulling come to that matter. The term professional foul says it all, until it hurts the teams regularly adopting these tactics it will be seen as OK. If this cheating tactic regularly caused teams to lose then it would soon be seen as unprofessional.

  30. Corruption News

    The blatterbird apparently has lined up an appeal in August I believe. It would be nice if he couldn’t attend because he was in jail.

    The infant has designated a Slovenian to head the “Pretend to rid FIFA of Corruption” panel. I know nothing about the person. But, there have been some exceptionally corrupt people in that region of the world of late. Has this person been tainted, or was he chosen because he is good at removing it?

    Modric is under investigation for money diversion or something.

  31. The most amusing things about the Euros was the BBC’s “Football Expert” Mark Lawrenson. They continually bleated on about how good he was in his daily predictions section on the website.

    In the latter stages they repeatedly told us that he had predicted 11 of the teams to get to the last 16 as though it was some sort of achievement.

    In all honesty I find it completely patronising (unless they are completely stupid which is definitely possible) since as 8 teams actually went out before the last sixteen what they were saying was that of the eight he predicted not to get to the last sixteen, he got five wrong. I’d say that was pretty poor. But hey ho, this is football on the BBC…………and Mark Lawrenson is an expert after all

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